The Phillies’ list of trade targets includes Orioles outfielder Adam Jones and Twins infielder Eduardo Escobar, Fancred Sports’ Jon Heyman reports. Indeed, MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi lists the Phillies and Indians as “two of the most serious contenders” to acquire Jones before the trade deadline. (Morosi initially reported on Cleveland’s interest in Jones earlier this month.)
Philadelphia and Baltimore have been linked in trade talks for much of the summer, as the Phils were known to be suitors for Manny Machado and Zach Britton before both former O’s stars were dealt to the Dodgers and Yankees, respectively. It’s fair to assume that the Orioles have a very good sense of the Phils’ farm system at this point, both from scouting and negotiations and the simple fact that there are more than a few former Baltimore executives in Philadelphia’s front office (chief among them club president Andy MacPhail and GM Matt Klentak).
Jones, who turns 33 on August 1, is owed roughly $7MM for the remainder of the season. He’s a free agent this winter, so he’d represent a pure rental for the Phillies, who would get a veteran upgrade in their outfield that wouldn’t represent a long-term roadblock for younger talents like Nick Williams.
With Odubel Herrera locked into everyday center field duty, Jones’ likeliest role with the Phillies would be to take over from Williams as the regular right fielder. It’s worth noting that Williams (.250/.329/.438 in 286 PA, 12 homers, 104 OPS+, 105 wRC+) is actually hitting better than Jones (.277/.304/.422 in 411 PA, 10 homers, 100 OPS+, 96 wRC+) this year, though Jones brings a much longer track record of performance to the table. Williams also has been a very subpar defender in right field, so Jones should represent an upgrade in that area even if his own metrics in the more challenging center field position have been well below average for the last three years. The recent demotion of Aaron Altherr left the Phillies in need of a backup outfielder, so Williams would step into that role.
Escobar has mostly played third base for the Twins this year, though with Maikel Franco hitting better in recent weeks, the Phillies would likely use Escobar in place Scott Kingery at shortstop. Escobar is in the midst of an outstanding .278/.338/.522 campaign over 397 PA, and the 29-year-old has also delivered 15 homers and a league-best 37 doubles. He is another rental player, and only has roughly $1.7MM still owed to him for the rest of the season.