Few teams in the league have such an acute need in midfield as the Phillies. Last season Philadelphia only scored a .230 / .298 / .363 in this position. This production was 24 points below the league average as measured by wRC +, the fourth worst offense in the league.
Most of the at-bats were from Odúbel Herrera and Travis Jankowskiwho were both dropped from the 40-man squad after the season. Among the remaining options, Matt Vierling, Mickey Moniak and Adam Haseley seem to be favorites for the season.
These are a sub-optimal group for a win-now club, and they’ll likely chase upgrades that come out of lockdown. In a mailbag to the readers’ sack this week, Athletic’s Matt Gelb wrote that the Phils “do not see any of the internal options in midfield as viable everyday players in 2022”. It appears that baseball business president Dave Dombrowski, general manager Sam Fuld, and the rest of the front office are planning on looking for a new regular.
Both Moniak and Haseley are former top ten picks, with Moniak taking first place in 2016. However, there is no question that both players’ stocks have fallen over the years since then. Moniak comes from a .238 / .299 / .447 showing with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Only 23 years old, Baseball America wrote mid-season that many reviewers now project the left-handed “fourth or fifth outfielder” with no outstanding physical aids.
Haseley generally has a solid minor league track record, but he was a sub-par hitter during his tenure in the big league. With 355 record appearances, he has a .264 / .322 / .373 line with five home runs. The left-hander has good racket-to-ball skills, but he hasn’t run much and has hit with virtually no strength. He opened the 2021 season as a midfielder for the Phils, but was on leave after nine games. After his return to the Lehigh Valley team, he faced some uncharacteristic fights in the minor league (.224 / .282 / .295 over 170 times on the record).
Anyone from Moniak or Haseley could stay on hand as depth, but Yellow suggests the Phils might be ready to trade any player that comes out of the transaction freeze. As he notes, both players were selected under previous GM Matt Klentak, and the new regime may be more ready to part with the once-top prospects. Their respective trade values have certainly fallen from their highs, but it’s likely that there would still be moderate interest in any player in the league if the Phils made them available.
Whether Moniak and / or Haseley start the year in Philadelphia, it seems obvious that the club will seek help outside of the organization. However, this desire is made more difficult by the sterile prospects of a free agent in this position. Starling Marte was the only regular slam dunk midfielder available in free agency this off-season. He has already signed with division rival Mets; building superintendent Chris Taylor reappeared with the Dodgers.
Kris Bryant has some experience in midfield but it would be too far to rely on him to fill the position every day. It is more suitable for third base and / or the corner outfield. Apart from Bryant, the midfield candidates still available are limited. Herrera is unlikely to be coming back. At the age of 38, Brett Garders not ideal for a normal role in midfield. Kevin Pillar, Danny Santana and Jarrod Dyson are all fourth / fifth outfield types themselves.
In order for the Phils to find a definitive upgrade, you will likely have to turn to the trading market. Byron Buxton would have been a primary target, but he and the twins agreed on a nine-digit extension. Who else could the Phils investigate?
Controllable stars with questionable commercial availability
There are a few big names that rival clubs have been inquiring about in the past few months, but it’s not clear either of them will be relocating. the Diamond back will not entirely exclude the possibility of trade Ketel Martebut they have shown little inclination to do so. That would cost a lot of money, and Marte is likely to be a better fit defensively on second base than in the middle.
the Orioles are ready to listen to offers from Breakout Star Cedric Mullins. However, being open to offers is very different from actively trying to trade the player and the O’s are under no pressure to make a deal. Mullins is taxable for an additional four seasons (subject to changes in the length of service). He’s not earning much more than the league’s minimum wage just yet, and the Orioles can’t keep building back forever. As with Marte, he may not really be “sacrosanct”, but a serious offer for Mullins would require the departure of a lot of young talent. It’s not easy for any club, but it would be especially difficult for the Phillies, whose farming system Baseball America was among the top five in the league in August.
the Pirates got calls Bryan Reynolds, another all-star that can be controlled until 2026. Reports ahead of the trading deadline suggested that Pittsburgh was more inclined to build around Reynolds than to trade him. They rejected requests from several clubs this summer, and there is little evidence that they have changed their attitudes about moving in the intervening months.
Easiest trading Candidates
If these stars are out of reach, where could the Phillies be looking? The most obvious answer is to Rays midfield player Kevin Kiermaier, which is due for $ 14.5 million this year (including the buyout for a club option in 2023). Philadelphia has already been linked with the three-time Gold Glove winner this off-season. There is no question that he would be an upgrade defensively as he may be the best glove man in the game on the outfield. Kiermaier’s bat tends to hover around the league average, but that would still be a significant improvement over the production Philly received in 2021. At Kiermaier, it’s about durability; He has only exceeded 500 record appearances once in a season, with his extensive playing style taking a significant toll on his body over the years.
Kiermaier’s teammate, Manuel Margot, could also be present. For his final year of club control, he is projected to earn an arbitration salary of $ 5 million. He’s a bit worse than Kiemaier on both sides of the ball, but also more affordable and a strong defensive option himself.
the As are usually converted this winter. Oakland has traditionally been unwilling to undergo a complete demolition and rebuilding, and the motivation for the expected roster reorganization this winter would be financial. At an estimated salary of $ 2.8 million Ramon Laureano He’s less likely to be out and about than some of his higher-priced teammates. Teams should at least check with the A’s about Laureano’s availability after the lockdown, but his status is hampered by a performance-enhancing drug lockdown that will last into the first month of next season.
There are a few talented but underperforming options that might be worth trying out a scene change. Victor Robles was outdone by Lane Thomas on the Nationals Average depth of field graph. It is possible Washington will provide it, although the departmental factor makes closing a deal difficult. the Rockies could act Raimel Tapia. With both Robles and Tapia, however, there is a chance that none of the players will prove to be such a definitive upgrade over the Phils’ in-house options.
When Philadelphia is ready to accept money, there are a few additional options. The blue jays Randal Grichuk will be due just over $ 20 million over the next two seasons combined. The Yankees Aaron Hicks, meanwhile, will be signed for about $ 10 million a year through 2025. Neither player would sign such a deal if they were free agents now, so Toronto or New York would have to balance their salaries in some way to get Philadelphia to make such a move.
There’s a chance that too Swindler are open to moving Cody Bellingerstanding for $ 17 million salary after avoiding arbitration. Not only will Los Angeles be giving Bellinger away – they wouldn’t have advertised it if that were the case – but it’s not out of the question that they will make it available after a dismal 2021 season. However, as with Robles and Tapia, each member of this group has their own achievement and / or injury question marks.
the Astros have reportedly been looking in the market for an Impact Center Fielder lately. You will face similar challenges in closing a deal as the Phils or anyone else. But what if Houston managed to get someone like Mullins or Reynolds? Then their reigning group of promising but not yet fully established midfielders (Chas McCormick, Jake Meyers and José Siri) be available. Houston was trading Myles Straw as of the deadline when it was not a traditional trade candidate, though they may not want to take a similar move unless they first pull a controllable star from elsewhere.
the Angel saw top perspectives Brandon Marsh Make his debut in the big league in 2021. He has struggled offensive but is a highly respected defender who is probably best suited at the center. If Los Angeles brings Mike Trout back to the Play Center, they might consider moving Marsh off for the right offer, but it’s hard to see a switch between the two hopeful contenders.
the Twins do not trade with Buxton, but could they be further influenced? Max Kepler? He’s a right outfield primarily, but he is able to hold his own in the middle. Kepler has taken a step back for the past two seasons after apparently breaking out in 2019, but even his form in 2021 would be a significant improvement over what the Phils got last year. With the young corner outfielders Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach, also at the upper league level, a Kepler trade cannot be completely ruled out. However, it would be a tough sell for a Twins front office still hoping to keep up in 2022.
There are different avenues for Dombrowski, Fuld and the Front Office to explore. But almost all of them come with some kind of reservation or potential delay, which complicates the need for midfield help for the Phillies (or other clubs in a similar position).