November 10, 2020
There aren't truly "buyers" or "sellers" in the fall when it comes to the baseball offseason. Contending and rebuilding teams both have reason to part with big leaguers, and often times it doesn't really have to do with deciding to tank or sell assets for prospects.
Teams are all hoping to put their best foot forward right, and that includes the Phillies, who are shopping for quite a few ingredients including catcher, shortstop, outfield and lots of pitching. But is there any chance they'll move a big league piece themselves?
The Phillies currently hold long World Series odds — +3000 according to TheLines.com's consensus odds — but that's partly because they don't have their 2021 team put together yet. While there aren't particular trade rumors about the Phils parting with current assets on the 40-man roster floating around right now, there are a few scenarios that could help the team improve by subtracting. Here are three players who'd make sense to ship off:
Hoskins had a rebound season — or third of a season, whatever we are calling 2020 — in the second half this summer (so, a good one sixth?) hitting .261 with six homers and 18 RBI in the month of August. But his offense continues to trend downward after he fell apart in 2019. His defense at first is nothing spectacular either.
The runner up for NL rookie of the year Alec Bohm has shown to be a better first baseman than third baseman, and Hoskins is approaching three years of arbitration followed by free agency where his price tag will continually increase as his production seems to be stagnant. Having a DH in 2021 would provide a big reason to keep Hoskins around, but if the team is looking to open up some payroll to bring in a big name (or keep a big name, like J.T. Realmuto), Hoskins is a good candidate to sell reasonably high on. And with Bohm in the wings, the team doesn't lose a hole lot by jettisoning Hoskins.
If the Phillies are able to shed his salary for a prospect close to being able to make the big leagues, or a player for player swap that nets them pitching or a middle infielder, Hoskins being on the move makes some sense.
If the Phillies find a taker for McCutchen's $20 million in 2021, they should probably pounce. We mean no disrespect for the Phils clubhouse leader and fan favorite in the outfield, but ever since he tore his ACL in 2019, Cutch hasn't been the same.
The Phillies don't exactly have killer depth in the outfield, but they do have some prospects who would do well to show what they can do — particularly with minor league seasons in doubt again. Mickey Moniak was the team's No. 1 pick and he deserves a shot to show if he was worthy of it. Another former first rounder, Cornelius Randolph also plays in the outfield. There are also a lot of cheaper options out there than $20 million, and any savings from McCutchen being moved can, as we said, be utilized for other more pressing positions.
The Phillies' most frustrating player (come on, he is...) is set to become a full free agent after the 2021 season, and does anyone think the Phillies will bring him back for 2022?
Perhaps if they can get anything for him this offseason, even a veteran bullpen piece, he's worth moving. The $4.3 million he is expected to earn next season can best be spent elsewhere and I think fans and front office staff alike have seen what Velasquez is, and that's a borderline MLB player who is wholly unreliable. He could do with a change of scenery and the Phillies should give it to him.
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