The Phillies are in first place in the NL East. So far, so good. But the club is looking ahead at some rather significant road blocks.
Most notably, the Philadelphia outfield mix just took a big hit. Andrew McCutchen is done for the year. The less-hyped and less-expensive of the team’s two major free agent splashes, Cutch had also outperformed Bryce Harper to this point.
Let’s not forget: the Phillies aren’t just replacing McCutchen. They may also be in need of a player to step in for Odubel Herrera, whose future with the organization is in doubt after his recent arrest for alleged domestic violence. Aaron Altherr was already sent out after a rough start. Nick Williams has struggled mightily. Roman Quinn is again injured, while Dylan Cozens is sidelined for the season. Scott Kingery is showing well, but he’s an infielder by trade and is needed there with Maikel Franco struggling. Recently, Kingery taken over the majority of the workload at third base.
The Phillies, as one would expect from a first-place club in a tightly contested division, have acted quickly since losing Herrera and McCutchen. Jay Bruce was brought in and now figures to line in left field on a regular basis. Bruce just ripped his third home run in as many games since landing in Philadelphia, so he’s off to a good start. But he’ll also likely be pressed into a much more substantial role than had been envisioned.
Philadelphia also promoted prospect Adam Haseley, the eighth overall pick in 2017, and he’ll step into center field for the time being. Haseley had only been in Triple-A for a week when he was summoned to the Majors, though, and he’s not regarded as a premium prospect despite that draft pedigree. He’s a a logical first option, and perhaps he’ll surprise to the extent that the Phils don’t need to make a splashy trade, but there’s still a definite chance that the sudden outfield deficiency will be addressed by acquiring someone from outside the organization.
What the Phillies could really use in place of McCutchen is a true center fielder. McCutchen hasn’t been that in several years but was playing there in place of Herrera — who turned in shaky defensive ratings in center himself in 2018-19. Unfortunately, that’ll be considerably more difficult to come by for GM Matt Klentak.
The most readily available players are of dubious quality, unsurprisingly. Kevin Pillar could surely be had from the Giants, but a player sporting a .249 OBP on the season isn’t going to be viewed as an upgrade. It’s a similar story with Billy Hamilton in Kansas City and Juan Lagares in New York. The Padres have a well-known glut of outfielders, most of who are limited to corner duties as well. Perhaps the Phillies could try to buy low on one-time top prospect Manuel Margot, but he’s sporting a .262 OBP and has lost playing time to makeshift center fielder Wil Myers. Myers himself would figure to be eminently available, but he’s still owed $61MM beyond the 2019 campaign and wouldn’t be a quality defensive option. Buy-low options abound throughout the league. Beyond the aforementioned Pillar, the Phillies could acquire Leonys Martin on the cheap in hope of a return to form. The Orioles only just acquired Keon Broxton themselves, but the Phils could try to take a shot on him.
The best of this class of player may be Jarrod Dyson. Perhaps the D-Backs will be willing to ship him elsewhere later this summer. He’s a career-long platoon bat with minimal power but would at least give the Phils dynamic glovework and competitive at-bats against right-handed pitching. But the team would still arguably be down a righty outfield bat.
Adding a higher-end piece in center would surely be costly, though it’s worth exploring since it’s a long-term need for the organization. The Phils could try to pry Ketel Marte away from Arizona, but the asking price would be substantial. The versatile switch-hitter has taken well to center field and is also capable of playing all over the infield; he’s also controllable all the way through 2024 for a total of about $35MM. Starling Marte isn’t off to his finest start, but the cross-state rival Pirates likely won’t reduce their asking price. Perhaps there’s some room for a deal — the Pittsburgh org may soon have a bit of a logjam in the outfield and may not hang in the divisional race, while Marte is getting more expensive — but it’s a low-likelihood scenario.
It is intriguing to think of potential matches with the Mariners. Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto rarely rests long between brokering deals and obviously has a connection with Klentak. (Not long before the Bruce swap, they pulled off a much more significant deal.) The Mariners resisted the temptation to move building-block Mitch Haniger in the offseason. He’s mostly a corner piece and hasn’t graded well in limited MLB action up the middle, but did spend a lot of time there in the minors and might be expected to perform well enough in that role for a season or two. Mallex Smith would be a true center field option, but he’s still trying to bounce back from a rough start. The Mariners acquired him as a hopeful long-term piece in an offseason swap and won’t be particularly keen to sell low.
One potentially interesting possibility would involve Whit Merrifield of the Royals. He’s known mostly as a second baseman, of course, but has been utilized more and more on the grass and has graded well in his limited time in center. If the Royals really are willing to listen, the Phillies ought to in the ear of K.C. GM Dayton Moore. Merrifield could plug into the center field opening now and be utilized in any number of different ways in the future. He’s an exceptional value, which will be reflected in the asking price.
The options could still expand in the coming months, though it’s honestly tough to foresee other viable center field targets. What are the other possibilities?
A major corner outfield acquisition just may not make a ton of sense for the Phils, who have Bruce and Harper in that role now and will welcome back McCutchen next season. Skipper Gabe Kapler already said he doesn’t plan to use Harper in center. While the right acquisition could perhaps change that line of thinking, that’s probably not the preferred route for GM Matt Klentak and the remainder of the front office.
That said, perhaps the Phillies can instead add one of the Dyson-type platoon pieces and also pursue a corner-oriented bat to boost their offensive productivity. The team could hold its nose at times on defense — as it was doing already with Cutch in center — and plan on deploying different personnel based upon the situation.
There ought to be quite a few corner pieces on the market. In addition to some of the names already covered, some of the aforementioned teams have other conceivable trade assets. Adam Jones at least has ample experience in center, even if he’s ill-suited to regular time there at this stage. He and David Peralta could be put on the block by the Diamondbacks. Left-handed hitters Corey Dickerson, Gregory Polanco, and Melky Cabrera may not fit on the same Pirates roster. (Polanco could also be utilized in center, as he frequently was in the minors, though he has rarely been tasked with that role in Pittsburgh.) Domingo Santana of the M’s has slowed after a hot start but could be of some interest. Hunter Renfroe and Franmil Reyes are among the many options in San Diego.
Loads of other players will also come up. Perhaps the Orioles’ Trey Mancini isn’t a sensible target since he’ll come with a high asking price and is limited to a corner spot. But there are other, more plausible candidates. Nicholas Castellanos is sure to be discussed quite a bit this summer by the Tigers. The Angels may end up dealing Kole Calhoun in his walk year if they can’t hang in contention; likewise, the Reds could end up dangling Yasiel Puig and/or Derek Dietrich. Veteran corner outfielder Alex Gordon could be of interest, though it’s far from clear whether he’ll be available given his no-trade rights and special relationship with the Royals. Shin-Soo Choo of the Rangers would be just the bat the Phils would like, though he’s a poor defender and would be tough to carry alongside Bruce.
There is also one other general route that the Phillies could explore. If they’re willing to trust Kingery with extended action up the middle, perhaps by pairing him with a part-timer of Dyson’s ilk, then the Phils could free the youngster for that role by adding an infielder. Whether or not they fully give up on Franco, the club might seek to add offense at the hot corner. Kingery’s importance to the Philadelphia organization was already apparent before McCutchen’s injury. His flexibility and potentially emerging bat now expand the universe of possibilities as the front office approaches an increasingly interesting summer trade period.
Phillies can have Domingo Santana from Seattle. He’s sure to win a gold glove in the NL.
He had a torrid start, and his production over the past few years has been trending in the right direction. Would be a great addition to the Phils’ OF even though as a Tribe fan I’ve coveted him for the past few seasons.
Given how our last two trades with Seattle have gone, should cost next ti nothing too.
Please take Leonis Martin from Cleveland…
Maybe give Bryce Harper another $300M, he will double his efforts…
Just tell him the empreor himself is coming to Phieldelpha
“Maybe give Bryce Harper another $300M, he will double his efforts…”
Maybe the fans of cheap teams (ahem, Braves) should stop criticizing the man’s contract just because your team couldn’t afford him. Because I guarantee you if he was on your team you’d be rooting for him,
Doesn’t change facts. Bryce got a contract no one thought he would live up to. I root for Tiger laundry. And if Bryce or Puff Daddy or Ronald Reagan wore the old English D, then I’d root for em and gossip about their celebrity for fun.
Let’s not act like he hasn’t been a massive disappointment this year. It’s one year in, so it’s not fair to grade it yet, but if we’re forced to judge it so far it is really bad
Consider this, the Phils are already drawing over 10K fans per game than they were last year. Contracts can and often do have impacts far beyond the game on the field. The Harper contract is a money maker.
Merrifield is the one option that would backfill some of the lost offense. Cutch was absolutely amazing at leadoff and had revitalized his career in that role. Whit would give the Phils room to flex either Whit or Kingery in CF or at 3B as needed. Whit gets on base. Many of these other options play a great defensive CF but leave a ton to be desired at the plate. The Phillies have to find any way possible to keep this lineup long and arduous for pitchers.
“amazing at leadoff and revitalized his career”????
Really and how long would you expect that to last given his performance over the last several years. Revitalized his career is very much a stretch for a 32 year old outfielder with diminishing power, and defensive skills moving him to primarily left field.
While he might have been a better everyday option than what the Phils had, he was far from stellar defensively in center field, and with his 130-140 strikeouts a year, hardly the prototypical leadoff hitter although he does walk quite a bit.
Whit will cost the Phillies dearly in prospects!
I don’t know about “revitalized his career”, but he was having a very good season when playing left field and batting leadoff. I agree that he really shouldn’t be playing CF anymore, but as of today (6/7), he’s still leading the NL in walks (actually tied with Rhys Hoskins!) and has on OBP of .378. He’s also scored 45 runs this year which is 6th in the NL. That’s pretty much what you ask for out of your leadoff hitter. A guy who gets on base at a high clip and sets the table for the rest of the lineup. He’s a huge loss for the rest of the season.
What about Adam Jones? I didn’t see his name mentioned in the article and he’s been playing well (last time I checked) in Arizona.
He hasn’t logged an inning in CF for the Dbacks. I think that ship has sailed
I get that he’s not a good defender for center anymore, but he does have experience there. He could be shuffled around the outfield when needed, pushing Bruce back to a 4th OF slot.
Darnit, was trying to decide where and how to discuss him and left him out entirely. Thanks!
Don’t beat yourself up! You did mention Jones in the article 🙂
“Adam Jones at least has ample experience in center, even if he’s ill-suited to regular time there at this stage. ”
sounds like a good idea. should provide solid offense and fill in well enough.
His name is in the article
Phils could probably get Canha from the A’s
Canha would be an under the radar type move. He won’t hit for average, but he has pretty good power and is inexpensive IIRC. I’d love the Mets to move Lagares, but he has been a bit up and down with the bat. The only way the Mets will spend $ this season is to move a contract and his is probably the best of not great options. From the Phil’s perspective, Lagares (or Gomez) could both slot into CF, which would keep Harper in a corner. Both should be viewed as 4th/5th OF at this point, so the Philly Phans probably wouldn’t like the move, particularly for Lagares bloated final year of his contract.. Canha or Jones would prob be viewed as neutral to good.
The White Sox should bring ROBERT to the majors and offer up one of their many other outfielders to the Phillies.
Leury Garcia would be a good fit. Leadoff man & CF.
Plenty of options the phillies can go with, Adam jones • Kevin Pillar • Jarrod Dyson • Randal Grichuk • Wit Merrifield • Plus with Dominguez now hurt, They need to make moves for the bullpen, they are dropping like flies.
Take Leonys Martin — PLEASE!
One name conspicuously absent from this article is Dee Gordon. I know he has consistently gotten a lot of hate from fans everywhere, but he can play CF or 2B, has speed, will hit around .300, and SEA isn’t gonna hold him up for a king’s ransom. Makes a lot of sense imo.
Trey Mancini but i think the O’s would want a haul back for him
I don’t see him as a center fielder but with his skills and contract status, Mancini should return a haul compared to others listed and should be moved as he’ll be a free agent before the orioles are good again.
I mean should he be an option? Just because he played CF doesn’t mean he was adequate at it. The experiment failed in short. The Phillies have a somewhat better overall version in Hernandez. If they are going to solve the CF option out of house for a similar type of glove first guy, they might as well target a guy like Dyson who is considerably cheaper and has shown he get on base this year.
Brock Holt wouldn’t be a bad choice either.
What about Corey Dickerson? Buccos will likely be looking to move him this summer.
Just now saw his name, that’s on me.
Power lefty bat and he can play center field, I would also like the see what Hasley can do.
Pirates are deep in outfielders right now and are going to have to move someone eventually. The problem with Dickerson is that he hasn’t played a major league game yet this year; for the matter, neither has Lonnie Chisenhall, who the Bucs could also look to be moving. Dickerson essentially has no trade value until he plays, which stinks for the Bucs. Cabrera seems like the obvious choice to shop, but he would make a great bench bat and would likely be OK with doing that. Bryan Reynolds has been fantastic and deserves to be playing. That leaves Marte and Polanco… and I’m starting to wonder if they’re available right now.
Dickerson played this year, about a week. Batted 3rd in the lineup & had a HR & hit about .150. He has trade value but personally I’d rather resign him, trade Starling Marte for pitching, move Reynolds into CF & keep Corey in LF.
The possibilities are endless….Pete Boujous (sp)….Refsnyder……Swihart…..
Tom E. Snyder
What about Derek Fisher with the Astros?
I have wondered that as well. Astros have a few people they could move. Tony Kemp, or even Josh Reddick and bring Alvarez up.
I was wondering the same. Kemp and Fisher should both be available, especially if they can work out a three team deal to grab an RP.
I don’t Kemp is that good though and Fisher is still unproven.
Rangers-Willie Calhoun(when he comes back), Deshields
DeShields was my first thought as well as a potential acquisition second- or third-most desirable in a Dyson-Martin-DeShields category.
The Pirates should trade marte for a young pitcher. If they believe in Bryan Reynolds and Polanco stays healthy, they can find another outfielder to sign on the cheap. With marte and cervelli off the books next year there payroll will probably be around 50 million. Bob nutting would be so excited.
I bet they are still scratching their heads on the meadows • glasnow for Archer trade. Meadows is straight up killing it with the rays. At first I said philly could get Billy Hamilton but they need a hitter.
Agreed. However they are probably pounding their head on a table instead of simply shaking their heads lol.
They should trade Reynolds, Marte, and Dickerson to the Phils for Juan Nicasio.
As bad as the Tigers front office is, the Phillies could probably get Nick Castellanos away from the Tigers for a bag of baseballs.
How about Moniak for Castellanos?
That would actually be a pretty solid move. Castellanos has been a player without a clear position/team for awhile now. He could pad his stats in their band box of a stadium; it should be called a “stadi” since it isn’t big enough to be considered a full-sized stadium.
Where does castellanos play?
The Red Sox have 2 centerfielders playing corner spots in Bene and Mookie that could move to CF. Make an offer for one of the best defensive CF’s in the game JBJ. I love to watch him play but we need a top young starter to go with Houck and Shawaryn. DD will want the Phillies best AA starting pitcher or the best in their system.
With Phillies pitchers dropping like flies lately, I don’t think they would trade a pitcher. They’d love to dangle Franco but he’s more a liability at 3rd, maybe he’d play 1B full time?
All right, might as well infuriate Rays fans everywhere….A perfect opportunity to lose the 40M left on Kevin Kiermaier’s deal…….Let’s remember the Phils have “stupid” money…..
bobtillman, playing with fire suggesting that one!!
Phillies would do well to pry Kiermaier loose, but you’re right about TB fans and probably the FO not being as crazy about that idea.
“All right, might as well infuriate Rays fans everywhere….A perfect opportunity to lose the 40M left on Kevin Kiermaier’s deal…….Let’s remember the Phils have “stupid” money…..”
If he could stay healthy I would love for him to be a Phillie.
Just sign denard span
Surprised the Tigers or Giants havent done this yet.
Literally did a search for “Span” on this thread. He got hosed by SSS defensive metrics last year. His sprint speed suggests he still runs well enough.
Span has been overlooked his entire career to the point it’s almost shocking. Obviously, his time in SF didn’t help him, but he’s hit well everywhere else.
Not ideal for CF but he would still get on base and is a great teammate.
Of all the names mentioned, and as a long time Phillies fan, I’d love to get Gregory Polanco from the Pirates. I look at Polanco as a five-tool player whose moderate successes to date have been tempered and curtailed by nagging injuries from time to time.
Phils have SP, Adonis Medina, to offer up. Baseball America rates Medina highly. He may not do what Glasgow is doing for the Rays, but pair Medina with Mitch Keller and the Bucs would have a solid #2 and #3 starting pitcher. Maybe even a #1 if Keller is as good as some say he will be.
No offense to those who mentioned the following names, but Hamilton, Lagares, Dyson, Martin and to a lesser extent, Adam Jones don’t get my heart pumping.
Don’t forget that they have Taillon and Kingham
Medina for Polanco? No thanks.
Not for a guy with that injury history
Andy: Keep in mind, Medina is still just a prospect, and the word “Prospect:” is just another way of saying, “He ain’t done nuttin’ yet!”.
Lou: I’ll trade Medina and prospects for the right returns. Not for a guy who can’t stay healthy, is a career .250 ish hitter who doesn’t get on base much
Not to mention his current WAR is -0.5
Andy: To get rich, ya gotta gamble and buy when there’s blood in the streets. Not saying Polanco is the elixir to cure all ills, but even in his present form I’d take him over any of our current OFs, save for Harper. And don’t forget, he missed the first five weeks of this season recovering from his off-season surgery. He’s starting to heat up now. Check the last couple of Pirate box scores. Power and speed, and speed enough to cover CF IMHO, especially in our band box of a home park. .
Prior to last night’s and today’s game where he hit a home run, he was hitting .160 in his last 50 at bats.
Sorry man, I have to take my chips and gamble elsewhere
I wouldn’t be upset if they got him by no means, I’d just look somewhere else
Didn’t say he was our only option. Certainly there are others; some better and some worse. But Polanco is better than anyone we have now. Also, I don’t make a lot out of a player’s first 100-150 at bats of a season, especially his BA. To wit, Cody Bellinger wasn’t and isn’t going to hit .465 anymore than Anthony Rizzo was gonna hit .220 this year. Anyway, nice discussing this topic with you today. And, Go Phillies!
You too Lou. All the best. Go fightins
i like Arizona’s trio of Dyson, Jones, and Peralta as possibilities. each has played well, and would fill in as needed.
Dyson could be a potentially valuable piece for this team at a cheaper price.
What about some of the yankees guys? Brett Gardner especially would make a lot of sense. He is not the bat he used to be but the Yankees are about to have a logjam in the of with judge and stanton coming back along with roster spot crunch with didi.
Will he be great? No but i think he would be servicable and has been leadoff hitter before with handling CF. Solid defender that should help with defense and can be rotated around the of as needed and is on a 1 yr deal so will not have issues when McCutchen returns.
Tauchman (sp?) could also be another option as well. Not sure if he has much experience in CF but played there a couple of times this year.
That was a lot of words to say the Phillies need a CF.
If they weren’t on the other side of the boxing ring, inciarte or Duvall would make tons of sense but it’s not in the cards.
Until the Odubel Herrera situation gets resolved, I don’t expect the Phils to make a move. The Phils can be expected to actively seek to move Herrera in the off-season if they can. But the Phils may discover that Haseley is ready or close to MLB ready. You don’t want to block him and the corner OF positions seem loaded going forward with Harper, McCutchen and perhaps Bruce. Oft-injured Roman Quinn remains in the mix.
In contrast, the Phils can’t afford to wait-and-see on their current BP needs.. That’s the priority, not an addition to the OF.
I wouldn’t give up on Nick WIlliams.
Ban Ravara (he’s a AAAA) player is once again available. Jokes aside I’d love to see the Phillies try to make a deal with Oakland to acquire Laureano and Treinan.
Atlanta’s Ender Enciarte (if I spelled it right) could be suitable
If he’s traded he definitely won’t be going to a rival team, much less the Phillies of all of them.
The Braves ain’t gonna give us anything that helps us stay ahead of them. Upgrading the bench should also be a priority for Klentak. Can’t see us going the rest of the way with Sean Rodriguez or Phil Gosselen (Sorry Malvern Prep alums!). I like Neil Walker. On the DL now, but a good bat who could play the corner OF spots, 2B, 3B and 1B and not embarrass anybody while doing so.
odd that mccutchen has a higher war than bruce and adam jones. Bruce’s BA is much lower but has higher war than jones. Except for the walks mcuttchen has, their numbers look similar..
Am I the only one who immediately thought that Altherr will be reclaimed once he gets DFA’d by the Mets?
….that ship has sailed. Hopefully, he can permanently latch on to a squad. Would be pretty funny if somehow he and Williams wind up on the same team as the 1 and 1a option in some outfield……
Maybe e the Flyin Hawaiian will come out of retirement…(*_^)
That wouldn’t be a bad outfield for next season…Cutch, Starling Marte, and Harper, with Jay Bruce in a backup position.
Whit Merrifield & Domingo Santana would be my first 2 choices.