Orioles Acquire: Brett Phillips. Rays Acquire: Cash Considerations
Other than Yennier Cano, Brett Phillips is the only player with MLB experience that the Orioles added to the system and right now it looks like Phillips will join the Major-League roster as a left-handed outfield bat. Phillips has played for the Rays over the past few seasons and has struggled offensively with a .147/.225/.250 slash line in 75 games this season. Most of his value comes defensively where he has had 38 defensive runs saved over his career as an outfielder and a career Ultimate Zone Rating of 25.3. The defensive metrics have been a little worse for him this season compared to years past, but he still provides valuable defense. This move is somewhat surprising though since the Orioles are not lacking outfielders with Anthony Santander staying in Baltimore and Ryan McKenna having been a more than competent fourth outfielder this season. Phillips does provide another left-handed bat for the Orioles lineup but he likely would not get consistent at-bats unless they are willing to play him in the outfield and move Santander to DH.
Phillips has become a fan favorite in St. Petersburg over the past couple of seasons because of his quirkiness and ability to show light-heartedness and a jovial spirit on the baseball field. He became a household name to baseball fans after hitting an insane walkoff against the Dodgers in game four of the 2020 World Series. The Rays were down to their final strike before Phillips hit a double that scored Kevin Kiermaier as the tying run and eventually Randy Arozarena as the winning run due to a wacky sequence of events. Since then, Phillips has been known for his positive spirit and will hopefully bring positive vibes to an Orioles team that continues to rack up wins despite losing Mancini and Lopez.
Ultimately, there is any number of directions that the O’s could have decided to go this deadline, but they decided to stick with the rebuild and add young pitching depth while trading away fan favorites. While the moves were not well-received by much of the fanbase, the moves do make sense from a baseball standpoint. Even if the Orioles were to make a playoff spot this year, it is unlikely that they would compete with the Yankees, Astros, Dodgers, and Padres who only got stronger over the past several days with blockbuster moves, and adding depth helps the team in the future. It is tough to see a competitive team get weaker, but it will hopefully all be worth it when Cade Povich is starting in Game 7 of the 2025 World Series at Camden Yards.