With Joe Nathan struggling as the Tigers’ current closer, the Tigers have to be salivating at the prospect of adding Papelbon and his 1.29 ERA by the MLB trade deadline. In Devon Travis, the Tigers have a possible replacement for Chase Utley a couple of years down the road and someone the Phillies will need badly in the event that Cesar Hernandez does not work out like they hoped he would.
Right now, the Phillies have no need for a closer and really, no last-place team does. Still if they bargain hard, they can pry Travis from the Tigers for Papelbon. The Phillies have to play the Tigers against another team that might be in need of a closer and have those teams try to outbid the other.
Travis would be a nice get for the Phillies once this fire sale starts. He was a 13th-round pick in 2012, and was one of the top minor leaguers in any classification in 2013. Last year, he finished second in all of the minor leagues with a .351 BA and third with 177 hits — almost unheard of minor-league numbers. He’s a good contact hitter and like Utley, he has a short, compact swing.
In other words, he’s the kind of guy the Phillies have all too few of now, and the kind of prospect that the Phillies can plug into Utley’s spot once the iconic second baseman decides to retire or become a DH. If the Tigers end up with Papelbon and the Phillies get Travis, it would be a win-win trade that benefits both ball clubs.