Phillies Reportedly Scouted White Sox Fireballer; Could Deal Get Done?

The Philadelphia Phillies have been one of the powerhouse teams in Major League Baseball in 2024. And if recent reports are any indication, they are stopping at nothing to become even more powerful.

The Phillies are expected to look for bullpen help at this season’s MLB trade deadline, which is always a market with tons of options. They were connected to the Miami Marlins’ Tanner Scott by Jon Heyman of the New York Post on Friday, and he isn’t the only reliever in whom they’re showing interest.

According to a report from Bruce Levine of 670 The Score, the Phillies are among three teams that have recently scouted Chicago White Sox closer Michael Kopech. The New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals were the other two teams Levine identified as potential fits for the flamethrowing righty.

Kopech has struggled in the closer role for the White Sox this season, posting a 4.91 ERA while converting just five of nine save opportunities. But his raw stuff is tantalizing. He ranks in the 99th percentile of average fastball velocity and has racked up 43 strikeouts in 29.1 innings.

Though he presumably wouldn’t be an option for the closer role in Philadelphia, Kopech would give manager Rob Thomson another right-handed weapon to deploy in late-game matchups. Jeff Hoffman has been superb as a setup man this season, so Kopech would likely compete with rookie Orion Kerkering as the bullpen’s number two righty option.

Philadelphia’s bullpen owns a 3.08 ERA this season, second-best in MLB. But the bullpen cost the Phils two games in last season’s National League Championship Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and it seems general manager Dave Dombrowski is set on making sure that doesn’t repeat itself in October.

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The 28-year-old Kopech has one remaining year of team control on his contract after 2024 and is making $3 million this season after avoiding arbitration. The White Sox, who could challenge the 2003 Detroit Tigers for the worst record ever in a 162-game season, are widely expected to sell most of their veteran players before the July 31 deadline.

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