Attempting to end the longest active postseason drought of any National League team, the Philadelphia Phillies acquired a pair of former All-Star pitchers in Noah Syndergaard and David Robertson at Tuesday’s MLB trade deadline.
Syndergaard’s acquisition was one of two separate trades the Phillies made with the Los Angeles Angels, as the teams agreed to a trade earlier in the day that sent young outfielder Brandon Marsh to Philadelphia.
The Phillies were among the most aggressive teams at the deadline as they sought to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Only the Seattle Mariners, whose last postseason appearance came in 2001, have a longer active streak of missing the playoffs.
Entering the day one game ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals for the NL’s third and final wild-card spot, Philadelphia is 33-18 since Rob Thomson replaced Joe Girardi as manager on June 3, the third-highest winning percentage in MLB over that. period.
“I think we’re a much better ballclub,” Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told MLB.com. “We have a tough division and tough people in the race, but I think we are better.
“We tried to address certain areas, knowing that we will get [second baseman Jean] Segura will be back soon. And [2021 NL MVP Bryce] Harper is making progress, which is very encouraging.”
Dombrowski sent outfielder Mickey Moniak — the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft — and minor leaguer Jadiel Sanchez to the Angels for Syndergaard, a 2016 All-Star with the New York Mets who has had a bounce-back year after missing. almost the entire 2020 and 2021 seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery.
The hard-throwing right-hander has stayed healthy this season, posting a solid 3.83 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 15 starts. Syndergaard signed a one-year, $21 million contract with the Angels in November.
Robertson, acquired from the Chicago Cubs for Double-A pitcher Ben Brown, has put together a strong comeback season for himself at age 37. The veteran reliever has held opponents to a .162 average while going 3-0 with a 2.23 ERA and 14 saves in 36 appearances.
The 2011 AL All-Star previously played in seven games for the Phillies in 2019 before undergoing Tommy John surgery and missing the entire following season. Robertson began the 2021 campaign outside the majors before signing with the Tampa Bay Rays last August.
Philadelphia traded catcher Logan O’Hoppe — the organization’s No. 3 overall prospect according to MLB.com — to the Angels in exchange for Marsh, who could take over as the Phillies’ center fielder.
The 24-year-old has hit just .226 with eight home runs and eight stolen bases in 93 games this season, but has earned high marks for his defensive abilities.
“He’s one of the best defenders in baseball in center field,” Thomson said. “Obviously, it’s an upgrade. He can run. He’s just a grinder, gamer type of guy. He’s hit in the past. He hasn’t hit lately, but I think there are some things that [hitting coach] Kevin [Long] can do to help him.”
Odubel Herrera, who has started a team-high 43 games in center field, was designated for assignment after Marsh’s addition. Herrera hit just .215 with a .550 OPS since June 1.