The Phillies are “definitely” looking for some help in right field after learning that projected starter Aaron Altherr will be out for four to six months due to a left wrist injury that required surgery, ESPN’s Jayson Stark reported on Buster Olney’s daily podcast (audio link, with Phillies talk starting up around the 9:00 mark). Stark follows up with a series of tweets, explaining that the Phillies are most open to adding a one-year rental — possibly one that can be acquired primarily by taking on salary — that can perhaps be flipped this coming July (links to Stark on Twitter). Marlon Byrd, he adds, is “not a fit for where they are right now.”
There’s no shortage of names that could fit that bill, but some highly speculative options that are slated to hit the open market following the 2016 season include Michael Saunders (who was already nearly traded once), Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, Angel Pagan, Carlos Beltran, Jon Jay, Coco Crisp and Sam Fuld. The Mets’ Alejandro De Aza, too, could be a fit, if New York does indeed explore fits for him late in Spring Training, as has been rumored. (De Aza, of course, would need to approve the trade after having only signed with the Mets this winter.) Jay Bruce, in some ways, fits that bill, though he has a club option for 2017, and the Reds, presumably, would want more than pure salary relief in exchange for their former star. Among the notable free agent names left on the market are David DeJesus and Alex Rios.
Of course, plenty of other veteran names could become available late in camp as players are outrighted or opt out of their minor league deals, but Stark added on the podcast that the Phillies, seemingly, are eyeing someone who can bring a bit more to the table than a late-spring release or outright candidate.
As it stands, the Phillies have Odubel Herrera lined up in center field with Peter Bourjos, Cody Asche and Rule 5 pick Tyler Goeddel as candidates for the corner spots. Asche, though, has been slowed by an oblique injury this spring and could be delayed in making his season debut. Veteran outfielder David Lough is also in camp on a minor league contract, and injuries to Altherr and Asche could enhance his chances of making the club as well, if no outfield acquisition comes to fruition.