Digging Into the Phillies / Dodgers Trade (Gilbert / Garlick)

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When you play in a deep dynasty league–the type where up to 7,000 minor leagues can be rostered and 700 players can be active on weekly rosters–you learn to appreciate fringe major league players. And you learn to watch the transaction page closely, noting any possible activity that could lead to an active player.
Perhaps this experience is what leads me to appreciate the recent trade between the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers. Or maybe it’s a growing appreciated for the smaller transactions that are a necessary part of a GM’s job.

Either way, here’s the trade:

Phillies trade Dodgers trade
Tyler Gilbert
Kyle Garlick

Who is Kyle Garlick?

Basic Information
Age 28 (1/26/1992)
Position Outfield
Throwing Handedness Right
Batting Handedness Right
Entered League 2015 June Amateur Draft (#852 overall)
Minor League Options Remaining 2 Options Remaining

You won’t find Kyle Garlick on our 2020 Dodgers prospect list; or on the 2019 version either. But if you scroll all the way to the bottom of the 2018 list, you will find Garlick sitting at number 47, nestled between Errol Robinson and Wills Montgomerie. Here’s what was said about Garlick then:

I last said I feel like he’s the next Kyle Farmer (as a AAAA type player). Then Farmer got his shot and produced respectively in the show. Garlick could be a solid 4th OF and likely gets a shot at some point in LA or elsewhere.

2 years later, this is an appropriate description of Garlick. He saw limited action last year as a 28 year-old reserve OF in Los Angeles: 53 plate appearance in 30 games after 1,847 plate appearances in the minors.

Garlick’s calling card is power, though one could understandably question the last couple years in the Pacific Coast League. On the downside, Garlick is 28 years old, and he strikes out quite often.

It is important to note that Garlick comes with a bit of roster flexibility: oftentimes, players designated for assignment during February have no minor league options remaining, which means they must be kept on the active 25-man roster or risk being lost to the waivers process. Garlick’s two minor league options mean the Phillies can move him between the majors and the minors as needed during the season.

If you’re a Phillies fan looking for reasons to like Garlick, then The Good Phight has perhaps the most optimistic article you will find.

Who is Tyler Gilbert?

Basic Information
Age 26 (12/22/1993)
Position Outfield
Throwing Handedness Left
Batting Handedness Left
Entered League 2015 June Amateur Draft (#174 overall)
Minor League Options Remaining Not on 40-man roster

Unlike Garlick, Gilbert has never made one of our top 50 lists. Perhaps if we had been around during the 2015 draft, he would have made a mid-season list. Anyone taken in the 6th round has a decent chance to be one of the top 50 players in a system. If nothing else, optimism for a new player would be enough. Chris Mitchell at Fangraphs had this to say when Gilbert was drafted:

After spending two seasons in junior college, the left-handed Tyler Gilbert transferred to USC for his junior year, and immediately became a force as the team’s swing-man. In 22 appearances, including six starts, Gilbert pitched to a 2.79 ERA. He struck out 8.8 batters per nine, while walking just 3.3 over 68 innings of work. None of those numbers are particularly eye-popping, but like Poteet, it’s encouraging that he achieved them in the Pac-12.

Gilbert continued as a starter until the 2017 season when he transition to a relief role, a role that he has continued to thrive in. For example, The Morning Call has a good interview with Gilbert where he talks about the transition, as well as his use of a spiked curveball and cutter.

Despite the positives, Gilbert was available to all other 29 teams during the Rule 5 draft at the cost of a roster spot during the 2020 season. And no team selected him.

Trade Analysis

There really isn’t a lot of reason to go to in depth on a trade like this. At the same time, like I said in the introduction, these type of trades are just as important in the day-to-day managing of a team as the blockbusters.

From the most simplistic point of view, this could be argued as a clear winner for the Dodgers: trading a player for someone picked over 700 slots earlier in the same draft. But baseball is always quite so linear.

From another perspective, this most likely meets the textbook definition for a baseball trade. The Dodgers have plenty of outfield options, and needed the 40-man spot to make room for Mookie Betts and David Price. The Phillies after losing Odubel Herrera could use an additional option. The Phillies have room to work with on their 40-man; and the Dodgers acquire someone they keep tucked away in the minors without constricting their roster flexibility.

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