The Phillies have started Carlos Santana at third base 10 times down the stretch and received a total of 70 innings of play from him there, and Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia explores the possibility of Santana shifting to the hot corner on a full-time basis in 2019. Doing so would allow the Phils to move Rhys Hoskins from left field back to first base, dramatically improving the outfield defense. Santana, 32, tells Salisbury that he’s open to the idea, while manager Gabe Kapler adds that it’s something the Phils will evaluate after the season. Philadelphia’s expected run at Manny Machado figures to have an impact on their left-side infield alignment, and Salisbury speculates that the team could again explore the trade market for Maikel Franco this offseason.
Defensive metrics have actually given a favorable review to Santana’s minuscule sample of innings, but it still seems unlikely that he’d turn in quality results over a full season. I’d add, however, that he’d be replacing another below-average defender in Franco; if the Phillies believe the difference between Franco and Santana at third base is more or less negligible, then they could overwhelmingly bolster the rest of their defense by moving Hoskins to first base in favor of an average or better defender in left.
More out of Philly…
- Speaking of Hoskins, the 25-year-old chatted with The Athletic’s Matt Gelb about his recent decision to hire agent Scott Boras (subscription required). Part of the thinking, per Hoskins, was actually about his desire to improve his defense in the outfield. Gelb notes that Boras has 10 trainers and a pair of fitness facilities, which appealed to Hoskins as he seeks to improve his performance in the outfield. “There’s only so many different drills you can do,” said Hoskins. “Jump rope, ladder, whatever. But some guys just have a different way of communicating that or they focus on different things within the movement.” He added that he heard “nothing but good things” from the players he spoke to about using Boras’ trainers. Gelb writes that Boras has expressed an openness to discussing a contract extension for Hoskins this offseason, though historically his clients have typically not gone that route.
- It’s been an injury-ruined season for Jerad Eickhoff, but Kapler told reporters that he’s a candidate to start one of the final games of the season after rejoining the team as a reliever earlier this month (link via Matt Breen the Philadelphia Daily News). Eickhoff met with numerous specialists to evaluate nerve damage that was leading to numbness in his hands this summer and, at one point when doctors were having a difficult time making a diagnosis, wondered whether his career could be in jeopardy. “I don’t know if there’s a guy that the clubhouse pulls more for than Jerad Eickhoff,” said Kapler. “I think he’s pretty deeply cared for and he worked his butt off to get back to this position.”