We are now less than two weeks away from the trade deadline and the Red Sox are clear sellers despite their unstoppable momentum coming from two (2!) straight victories. They don’t have a whole lot of top-tier talent that is likely to be dealt — depending on how you feel about J.D. Martinez, I suppose — but they have a few names that should draw interest from various teams around the league. One of those names is Brandon Workman, who broke out in a big way as the closer last season and is set to hit free agency after this season. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Red Sox have spoken with the Phillies about a possible trade for the right-handed reliever.
Of all the names on the Red Sox, Workman seems the most likely to be shopped. As mentioned above he is set to hit free agency this coming winter, and he is also a good reliever. There is no position that gets more value for itself than a good reliever at the trade deadline. Workman has not looked quite as good this year as he did in 2019 when he posted a 1.88 ERA, but over his 6 2⁄3 innings so far this season his strikeout and walk numbers are in a similar range as they were a year ago. Of course, with the team struggling so badly this season he hasn’t exactly gotten consistent work as the closer, either.
As for the Phillies, they certainly make sense as a team to target Workman. Philadelphia is a clear win-now team and their fanbase rightfully is losing patience with a roster that has so much talent yet can’t seem to get over the hump. They are currently in last place in the NL East with a 9-12 record, but with an expanded playoff field FanGraphs still gives them a 44.6 percent chance of making it into October.
Their biggest issue has been their bullpen, which has been a straight-up disaster with a league-worst 8.07 ERA on the year. That is almost two full runs worse than the second worst team in the league. They are likely going to be calling every seller to see what relievers they will part with and likely need to make multiple additions to settle things down in the late innings.
As for any possible return, it’s hard to gauge just how much teams are going to value pushing in for this season. For a rental like Workman, you’re probably looking at an interesting prospect but certainly not anyone sniffing a top 100 position. The Phillies farm system, for what it’s worth, was recently ranked 26th in the league by Baseball America, two spots behind Boston.
It doesn’t appear that there is anything particularly close between these two teams just yet, but this is a fit that makes sense and certainly a rumor worth monitoring.
It would appear things are heating up.
The Phillies are in active talks with Red Sox to acquire closer Brandon Workman. Not final. But I hear multiple players are involved in proposed deal.— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyNBCS) August 21, 2020
Heath Hembree’s name has also reportedly been discussed.