What are the Phillies getting in Kyle Gibson, Ian Kennedy?

The Philadelphia Phillies acquired pitchers Kyle Gibson, Ian Kennedy, and prospect Hans Crouse from the Texas Rangers in exchange for Spencer Howard and two prospects on Friday afternoon.

Kyle Gibson: 19 GS / 6-3 W-L / 2.87 ERA / 1.18 WHIP

Gibson is a tall sinkerball pitcher who made his first All-Star appearance this season as a member of the Rangers. Gibson doesn’t have overpowering velocity, but the movement on his pitches can puzzle hitters. The veteran pitcher has a compact and quick pitching motion similar to or without men on base.

Gibson will immediately address the Phillies’ need for an additional starting pitcher heading into the season’s final two months. Outside the Wheeler-Nola-Eflin trio, the Phillies’ fourth and fifth starters haven’t been efficient and were a clear weakness.

Gibson should slide into the fourth spot and inspire more confidence in the rotation. But Gibson’s recent struggles before the trade deadline, however, may be a cause for concern.

In July, Gibson is 0-3 with a 6.26 ERA. In his last start on July 24 against the Astros, the 33-year-old walked a season-high eight batters in 6.0 IP. Before that start, Gibson allowed a season-high 10 hits and eight runs in 5.0 IP to the Tigers.

That being said, the Phillies seem to think Gibson’s first-half numbers paired with a change of scenery to a more competitive ball club will get him back on track. 

Ian Kennedy: 32 G / 16-17 SV-SVO / 2.51 ERA / 1.05 WHIP

Veteran relief pitcher Ian Kennedy joins the Phillies after spending only a half-season with the Rangers. Kennedy has bounced around in his career, which was mostly as a starting pitcher until the Royals moved him to the bullpen in 2019. 

In 2019, Kennedy recorded 30 saves and posted a 3.41 ERA with Kansas City. However, his 2020 season was less than ideal, highlighted by a 9.00 ERA. In 14 innings, Kennedy allowed 20 hits, 14 runs, and seven home runs.

Kennedy eventually signed a minor league contract with the Rangers this winter, which included a spring training invite. Nevertheless, Kennedy still has some of the stuff that made him an MLB starter for so many years.

This will be the second time that Kennedy will be paired up with Phillies manager Joe Girardi. He began his career with the New York Yankees and was coached by Girardi during the 2009 season. Kennedy was a part of the September call-ups but was not on the postseason roster when the Yankees and Phillies met in the World Series.

Hans Crouse: AA Stats – 13 GS / 3-2 W-L / 3.35 ERA / 0.90 WHIP

A second-round pick in 2017, Crouse was ranked the Rangers’ ninth overall prospect by MLB Pipeline this year. Crouse is a tall righty who has had success at the minor league level.

According to MLB.com’s prospect rankings, Crouse throws a fastball, slider, curveball, and changeup. The report also notes that Crouse was “emotional on the mound” leading up to the 2017 draft and is entertaining to watch because he’ll talk to himself on the mound. He’s also utilized a Johnny Cueto-style shimmy in his pitching motion in the past.

The 6-foot-4 starter is now rated as the Phillies’ fourth-best prospect in their minor league system and is projected to reach the majors in 2022.