As we sit here on June 6th, the Philadelphia Phillies are on a 3-game win streak, and the offense is exploding in June, as we’ve grown accustomed to.
The Phillies find themselves 7.5 back of the 1st place Braves and 4 games out of the 3rd Wild Card spot.

The Bullpen has been used and abused as almost every single member of the bullpen is looking to eclipse a career-high in innings. The Phillies came into spring training with a question mark surrounding the 5th starter, hoping it would be Andrew Painter, the Phillies’ consensus top prospect, but injuries impacted that answer. When injuries occur, management needs to pivot, and that’s what they did, utilizing Bailey Falter, who did everything but win games before his eventual demotion back to the minors.

We’ve now been using the 5th starter spot as a bullpen game which cannot be the answer if we plan on catching up to the Braves or clinching one of the three available wild card spots. It’s time to look at internal and external options. It’s time for Dombrowski to sure up this stuff because bullpen games aren’t the answer.

Internal Options

Andrew Painter

The Phillies find themselves in a weird position when you take a deep dive into the minor league systems. Andrew Painter is throwing but will most likely not be around until Mid to Late July, and the Phillies will have to be super cautious with him.

He will make his highly anticipated debut, but I’m not sure how much the Phillies can really depend on him coming back from injury and with an innings limit.

Mick Abel

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The Phillies 2nd ranked prospect, Mick’s ETA coming into the season was looking more like 2024 than 2023. However, the team may have to speed up the timeline pending his success in AA. On the season, Mick currently holds a 5.09 ERA and a solid 10.6 K/9; however, the ERA is grossly inflated by 2 very bad outings. Mick had 2 blow-ups, allowing 6 ER in one outing and 9 ER in another.

Looking at the rest of his workload, Mick hasn’t allowed more than 2 runs in his other 7 starts. Mick is going to need to keep working on his craft, but I would not be surprised if we see him in August or September.

Griff McGarry

The Phillies 3rd rated prospect was dealing with an oblique injury and is just making his way back; however, the results have been downright awful to start. Griff has allowed 8 ER in just 13 innings pitched. The more and more I investigate McGarry’s profile, the more I see the Phillies using him as a trade piece at the deadline, especially with him being pigeonholed behind Abel, Painter, and the rest of the big-league staff.

We would love to see McGarry get it together. Hopefully, he will make an impact in 2024 for Philadelphia or helps net them a solid piece as an external option (Shane Bieber, anybody?).

Bailey Falter

Please don’t do it, Dave.

External Options

Matthew Boyd

The Phillies have been tied to Matthew Boyd multiple times in the last few years, and his name is already starting to creep around social media as an option for the team. Boyd has had some injury concerns in the past; however, he is currently on a 1-year deal with the Tigers and would probably be one of the cheaper options on the market.

The Phillies need to be careful and not overpay for starting pitching, and I would not be surprised if Painter and Abel are completely off-limits. Boyd is coming off his best start of the year, fanning 9 over 5 innings. He currently holds a 5.57 era through 53 innings; however, his metrics show he has been much better than his numbers indicate. He currently has a 53:22 K:BB ratio.

Shane Bieber

Bieber is expected to be the darling of the trade deadline this year. With almost every contender looking for starting pitching, Bieber’s price tag will be through the roof as the Guardians will look for major league-ready talent.

I don’t think there is a trade possible here without including at least one of Abel and McGarry. Wishful thinking, but I don’t see how the Phillies get Bieber unless they move a major league-level player with high prospects.

Zach Plesac

Trust me…. This one is ugly but may be the best option for the Phillies to explore. Plesac’s situation resembles Christian Pache, the outfielder the Phillies picked up from Oakland earlier this year. Plesac was just recently DFA’d by the Guardians and has struggled immensely. Plesac currently holds a 7.56 ERA through 25 innings and, due to a lack of punch-out stuff, has not been able to succeed since 2020. However, Plesac will be the cheapest option for the Phillies to explore, as he currently has minor-league options available.

The Dylan Covey experiment the Phillies tried earlier this year failed miserably, and Plesac seems to be another option to try that will not cost the team high-level prospects. This option could be a chance for Caleb Cotham, the Phillies’ Pitching Coach, to show his value and help him find his stuff.

Overall, Dombrowski will have his work cut out for him.
This team has the offense to battle with anybody but needs to figure out the 5th spot of this rotation to help save the bullpen.

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