Phillies manager Joe Girardi says the centerfield job is “wide-open”
Joe Girardi met with the media on Tuesday morning and discussed the current options for the starting centerfield job. While the corner-outfield starters are locked in for Opening Day, much like last year, the Phillies still have questions to answer on who will be starting in centerfield.
Odubel Herrera’s Injury
The Phillies re-signed Odubel Herrera to a one-year, $1.75M contract. Original reports pointed to a “platoon” in centerfield between Matt Vierling and Herrera, however Odubel is still feeling soreness in his right side after lingering injuries from last season.
And with that, centerfield now seems like it’s Matt Vierling’s job to lose.
Vierling had a fantastic rookie season for the Phillies in 2021. The 24-year old hit .324/.364/.479 in 77 at-bats, tallying 2 HRs, 6 RBIs, and a 126 OPS+. Vierling played every position in the outfield last season, along with 9 games at first base. Although a small sample size, Vierling posted a 1.000 fielding percentage in the outfield, not logging a single error in 17 games out in the grass.
Girardi also stated that Adam Haseley will also get a chance in centerfield. Haseley was on the Opening Day roster last year but took a step away from the game of baseball on April 14th. He was reinstated to Triple-A just a month later, where he finished off the 2021 season.
Haseley slashed .266/.324/.396 his rookie year, tallying 5 HRs and 26 RBIs in 67 games. That was back in 2019, and heading into the 2022 season, Haseley has his eyes set on returning to the big-league team.
Mickey Moniak not even in consideration
Mickey Moniak will not be considered for the starting centerfield job. Moniak struggled immensely in 2021, hitting just .091/.167/.182 in 21 games in the majors. He struck out 16 times in 37 at-bats and logged just three hits.
The Phillies need to give Moniak time, as the 23-year-old’s development is still in the works. Don’t expect to see Mickey on the Opening Day Roster.
The team was said to be in the market for a center fielder this offseason but stuck with their in-house options instead. Kevin Keirmaier was a rumored target early on but is now rumored to stay with the Rays. The team was also interested in Starling Marte before he signed with the New York Mets.
As of right now, Matt Vierling is the favorite to be the 2022 Opening Day centerfielder. With Odubel dealing with an injury, Haseley still getting back into game shape, and Moniak’s struggles, Vierling has earned his spot as the team’s starter on April 8th.