On Wednesday, March 29th, the Philadelphia Phillies finalized a trade with the Oakland Athletics, in which they gave up RHP Billy Sullivan for OF Cristian Pache. The Phillies placed INF Rhys Hoskins on the 60-Day IL with a torn left ACL to make room for Pache.
In 2021, Cristian Pache was ranked the 12th best prospect by MLB Pipeline for the Atlanta Braves and even got some playing time in the Braves’ 2021 postseason run, earning him a World Series ring before ever making a Major League roster full-time. Pache was the 3rd highest-ranked OF prospect in 2021, behind only Jarred Kelenic (4) and Julio Rodriguez (5), both of the Seattle Mariners. In the offseason after winning his first championship, Pache was traded to the Oakland Athletics alongside catcher Shea Langeliers and RHPs Ryan Cusick and Joey Estes for star 1B Matt Olson.
Pache had a disappointing 2022 season. Although he played elite-level defense in center field, his hitting numbers were bad. In 2022, Pache had an abysmal .166 batting average in 260 plate appearances. However, his numbers in Spring Training this year with the A’s were very promising. Pache hit for a batting average of .302 this spring, well above his .166 mark in the 2022 regular season. Pache also had a .781 OPS, 13 hits, a double, two triples, 8 RBI, and a stolen base. Pache had a 26.9% strikeout rate in 2022; that number decreased to 17.0% during 2023 Spring Training. Pache also increased his 5.7% walk rate in 2022 to 8.5% in Spring Training. Big improvements for the 24-year-old.
With the Phillies trading for Cristian Pache, one player will likely be sent down to AAA, and that player is likely Dalton Guthrie. The Phillies plan on going into 2023 with two outfielders on their bench, a righty, and a lefty. Jake Cave made the Opening Day roster as their left-handed outfielder, so that leaves Guthrie to be sent down to AAA, with Pache replacing him on the 40-man roster. Pache may also be getting some starting reps in center field, with the Phillies’ current starting center fielder, Brandon Marsh, not being able to hit left-handed pitching as well as right-handed pitching. Depending on Marsh’s performance early in the season and if Pache can improve at the plate (which we think he will under Kevin Long), Rob Thomson could very well platoon Pache at center field against lefties.
Only time will tell if trading for Cristian Pache is a good move for the Philadelphia Phillies, but it’s looking like a low-risk, high-reward sort of deal. If Pache can produce at a high level for the Phillies in 2023, Dave Dombrowski just made a steal of a trade.