Just one year ago, Cristian Pache was ranked as the 38th best prospect in baseball by Keith Law of The Athletic. He was so highly sought after that the A’s wanted – and got – him in the deal that sent Matt Olson to Atlanta. Then came the 2023 season and Pache hit just .166 in 91 games with Oakland, making him expendable.
With rosters being set, the 24-year-old was no longer seen as a necessity and was shipped back east to join the Phillies organization. In exchange, Philadelphia sends pitcher Billy Sullivan, who was ticketed to return to Double-A Reading.
While his offense suffered in 2022, Pache is still noted as one of the top young defensive center fielders. They also have one of the better hitting coaches in Kevin Long, who has been able to help numerous hitters advance their offensive metrics, so the hope is that Long can fix Pache and at least get him offensively adequate to play as a major league backup.
Spring training stats are what they are, but Pache did have a good spring. He hit .302/.362/.419 in 21 games with Oakland, driving in eight runs or nearly half as many as he did last season when he knocked in 18. In 115 MLB games with Atlanta and Oakland, Pache is a .156 hitter with just a .205 on-base percentage. He did hit lefties slightly better in 2022, hitting .220/.281/.317 against southpaws and he would most likely be playing against left-handers to give the left-handed hitting Brad Marsh a day off here and there.
Sullivan, who turns 24 in mid-April, also had a tough season in 2022 with Reading. The right-handed reliever pitched to a 4.59 ERA in 42 relief appearances and two spot starts. He does have a high strikeout rate, whiffing 77 batters in 51 innings of work. Philadelphia drafted Sullivan in the 28th round of the 2017 Draft out of the University of Delaware. Sullivan was born in New Castle, DE.
The guy who is likely the least happiest about the trade will probably turn out to be Dalton Guthrie, who could find himself being optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Guthrie can play center field, which he learned to play last season and did well defensively there with the IronPigs, but the Phillies were looking more at using Edmundo Sosa as a backup for Marsh. With the injury to Rhys Hoskins, it is likely that Sosa will see time at third base against left-handed pitching with Alec Bohm sliding over to first. Darrick Hall, who will play first against righties, struggles against lefties and will likely defer to Bohm in those games.