MLB Free Agency: The Phillies remain in desperate need to for two outfielders
The Philadelphia Phillies have plenty of work to do before Opening Day on April 7th. With several holes to fill and a bunch of “interest reports” being floated around social media, here’s where we currently stand as MLB players rejoin their teams today for the start of Spring Training.
The Phillies still need the following:
- Starting Left Fielder
- Starting Center Fielder
- Starting Pitcher
- Two More Bullpen Arms
The Outfield Remains the Phillies’ Biggest Need
Bryce Harper is currently on an island right now in the Phillies’ outfield. Although the reigning MVP would probably give it a solid attempt, there’s simply no way he can play left, center, and right field by himself this season.
From there, the Phillies need to bring in at least two starting outfielders before the season starts and we should expect to see more than a few moves happen this week, leading up to the Phillies first Spring Training game on Friday, March 18th.
According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the Phillies are among the teams showing interest in free agent Nick Castellanos.
This of course, should come as no surprise to anyone. The Phillies were reported to have contact with Castellanos before the lockout and now have re-engaged those talks over the past few days.
Castellanos would be a huge addition to the Phillies lineup and fit perfectly in the heart of the order, providing much needed security for Bryce Harper, JT Realmuto, and Rhys Hoskins.
Last season, Castellanos hit .309 with 34 home runs and 100 RBI, with a .362 OBP and a .938 OPS.
Castellanos is however, a failed third baseman that was moved to the outfield. Sure, he’s a better outfielder than infielder, but still posted a -7 defensive runs saved in right field last season. The Phillies as a team last year posted a league-worst -54 defensive runs saved last season.
Needless to say, Castellanos offense, especially in a hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park, could overshadow any doubt that also arrives defensively.
Shortly after the lockout was lifted, Bryce Harper was reportedly “stumping” for Kris Bryant to join him in Philadelphia. Unlike Nick Castellanos, Bryant can actually play multiple positions at an elite level and would be a major acquisition for the Phillies.
Bryant hit .262/.344/.444 in 51 games with the Giants, tallying 7 HRs, 22 RBIs, and an OPS of .788. He totaled 25 HRs and 73 RBIs last year, good for an OPS of .835, with a .481 slugging percentage. He’s a career .278 hitter, with a .880 career OPS, and over 200+ doubles.
Having someone as dynamic as Bryant on the Phillies that could play left field, center field, and third base could really put the Phillies mind at ease heading into the 2022 season.
Jim Salisbury fired off a tweet this morning stating that since the Phillies are looking to fill two openings in the outfield, a reunion with Odubel Herrera is still on the table and that there has already been contact between the two sides about him possibly returning for the 2022 season.
Last season Herrera was the most productive center field option the Phillies had but that’s not saying much. Herrera finished the year hitting .260 with 13 home runs and 51 RBI, with a .310 OPB and a .726 OPS but was far from consistent.
The Phillies do need a left fielder AND a center fielder. From a baseball perspective it actually makes sense to bring back Herrera in center and then spend a decent amount of money on an elite free agent left fielder like the names listed here.
I honestly don’t hate the move, but completely understand how hated he is and how miserable he makes Phillies fans, even after he served his suspension and has done everything possible to make up for his past mistakes off the baseball field.
Given the history, I’ll pass. Too much baggage for Odubel in Philadelphia.
Another name that was heavily linked to the Phillies before the lockout was Kyle Schwarber.
Schwarber began last season with the Washington Nationals and was dealt at the trade deadline to the Boston Red Sox. In 41 games with the Red Sox, Schwarber slashed a line of .291/.435/.522, good for an OPS of .957. Schwarber also contributed 39 hits, 7 HRs, and 18 RBIs, giving him a total of 32 HRs and 71 RBIs on the season.
The left fielder would thrive in a hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park and could easily slide in the DH spot as needed throughout the season.
Kevin Keirmaier is a defensive machine that certainly be an upgrade over anyone else being considered in center field and man, would it be nice to have a glove man in center.
Kiermaier isn’t a free agent but is considered to be on Tampa Bay’s trading block and the Phillies could probably land him at a relatively cheap price.
Unfortunately, Kiermaier can’t get it done from the plate, hitting just .259/.328/.716 with an OPS+ of 104 last season. I understand the need defensively but can’t justify a trade while other big name free agents that could provide protection in the heart of the lineup are still on the table.
I could however, support a Kiermaier trade if the Phillies brought in a power-hitting left field option.
Kris Bryant, Please.
All things considered, I really only see one option listed above that the Phillies should immediately get on the phones with and that would be none other than Kris Bryant. I would gladly accept anyone else listed above with a bat, but at the same time, Kris Bryant checks so many boxes for the Phillies and if that’s who reigning MVP Bryce Harper wants in Philadelphia then by all means, let’s make it happen.