Phillies burn key assets, but fall short of greatest need

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Unless the plan is to convert Brandon Marsh to starting pitcher, I find it hard to see the wisdom of the Phillies trading one of their best trade chips in a deal that doesn’t meet their most dire need.

Dave Dombrowski may not have had the opportunity to turn Logan O’Hoppe into a playoff-caliber starting pitcher yet, but trading the well-regarded catch prospect for a center back who hit even worse than their current options, it has greatly complicated his ability to solve the Phillies’ rotation problems this offseason, when the situation will be just as pressing as it is right now.

READ MORE: Phillies acquire OF Brandon Marsh from Angels, move closer to David Robertson from Cubs

Dombrowski clearly felt like the clock was ticking for O’Hoppe, and he was right about that. Catch prospects are notoriously high risk, and O’Hoppe’s stock may well be as high as it ever was.

The 2022 breakout would never have had the chance to contribute with the Phillies thanks to the presence of JT Realmuto. They were going to trade him at some point, and it made more sense before the start of next season. But that doesn’t mean they had to trade him now, with only a month left in the minor league season and the hot stove of the offseason looming.

Maybe a deal for a starter wouldn’t have materialized, in which case you can definitely argue that Marsh’s advantage makes that deal make sense. But it is unknowable at the moment. Does Marsh improve the Phillies’ playoff chances enough to warrant making such a deal in the heat of trade rather than waiting to see what the offseason market has in store for us? I’m skeptical.

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