Phillies trade Spencer Howard and prospects to Rangers for Kyle Gibson, Ian Kennedy

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Phillies land Kyle Gibson and Ian Kennedy in trade with Rangers originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

In a flurry of activity just before Friday's 4 p.m. trade deadline, the Phillies bolstered the back end of their starting rotation, the back end of their bullpen and their bench. They also added a pitching prospect.

Will it be good enough to help them put together a two-month run and break a nine-year postseason drought?

We're about to find out.

The Phillies sent three pitchers, including once golden prospect Spencer Howard, to the Texas Rangers for veteran starter Kyle Gibson, veteran reliever Ian Kennedy and right-handed prospect Hans Crouse.

In addition, the Phillies acquired Freddy Galvis, their one-time starting shortstop, from the Baltimore Orioles for a minor-league pitcher.

Gibson, who is signed through 2022, will immediately take a spot in the starting rotation and is expected to pitch Sunday in Pittsburgh.

Kennedy, who had 16 saves for the Rangers this season, will help sharpen the late innings.

Galvis is on the injured list with a quadriceps injury. He's an excellent defender who could come off the bench and bolster a weak defense when healthy. He could also give the team a starting option if Didi Gregorius continues to struggle or has more health issues. He was on the IL earlier this season with elbow inflammation.

Crouse, 22, was picked by the Rangers in the second round of the 2017 draft, 21 picks after Howard. He has a 3.35 ERA in 13 starts at Double A Frisco.

In addition to Howard, the Phils are sending minor-league pitchers Kevin Gowdy and Josh Gessner to the Rangers. Gowdy was the Phils' second-round pick in 2016, the year they took Mickey Moniak No. 1 overall. His career was slowed by Tommy John surgery. 

The Phils sent minor-league pitcher Tyler Burch to Baltimore for Galvis.

A year ago, Howard would have been considered an untouchable in the Phillies organization. A second-round pick in the 2017 draft, he flashed a triple-digit fastball in the minors and outstanding secondary pitches. But over the last two seasons, the 25-year-old right-hander has had endurance issues, shoulder issues and trouble maintaining fastball velocity.

The Phils had hoped to interest the Chicago Cubs in a package built around Howard in exchange for All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel, but the price for Kimbrel started with Mick Abel, the team's top pick in the 2020 draft, and that was a nonstarter.

The Phillies don't have much depth in prospects, but there were some that other teams coveted. The team made Abel an untouchable and was very protective of Alec Bohm, Bryson Stott and 2021 first-round pick Andrew Painter.

In addition to three pitchers, the Phillies picked up close to $4 million in the Texas deal. That will help keep the Phillies under the $210 million luxury tax threshold. 

Gibson, 33, has spent nine seasons in the American League -- seven with the Twins and the last two with the Rangers. He is 6-3 with a 2.87 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 19 starts and made the All-Star team. He is under contract for $7 million next season in the final year of a three-year, $28 million contract.

Kennedy, who once won 21 games with the Arizona Diamondbacks, had a 2.51 ERA in addition to 16 saves for the Rangers this season. He had 30 saves for the Royals in 2019. He is a free agent at season's end.

It was a busy day in the NL East.

The first-place Mets acquired all-star shortstop Javy Baez and lefty Trevor Williams from the Cubs.

The Braves added outfielders Adam Duvall, Eddie Rosario and Jorge Soler to go along with previously acquired Joc Pederson. They also picked up reliever Richard Rodriguez from the Pirates.

The Nationals, of course, were big sellers. They sent three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer and all-star shortstop Trea Turner to the Dodgers, slugger Kyle Schwarber to the Red Sox, closer Brad Hand to the Blue Jays, and catcher Yan Gomes and infielder Josh Harrison to the Athletics.

The Marlins sent outfielder Starling Marte to Oakland for lefty Jesus Luzardo.

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