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July 10, 2023

The Phillies could really use one of these (potentially available) outfielders

Could a name like Cody Bellinger potentially be on the Phillies' radar over the next few weeks?

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Cody-Bellinger-Phillies-Cubs_071023_USAT Michael McLoone/USA Today Sports

Will the Phillies make a big swing and go after a former MVP-winning outfielder?

The Phillies ended their 13-game road winning streak with a pair of losses to the Marlins, and in those setbacks (and in every other game they've played recently) it became pretty clear that their biggest need might be an outfield bat who can play some solid defense.

Kyle Schwarber is simply too big a liability to trot out to left field every night, and if Bryce Harper is able to play first base after the All-Star Break, it will have a ripple effect that could give the Phillies a clear need in the trade market prior to the August 1 deadline.

• If Harper moves to first base, it opens up the DH spot for Schwarber full-time.

• This allows Alec Bohm to focus on playing third base every day

• This also creates an opening in left field, that would currently go to Cristian Pache but would probably be a spot for a trade candidate to fill in

The main targets we expected the Phillies to look at on the trade market were at starting pitcher and first base. Who might be available at a corner outfield slot for Philly over the next few weeks?

Cody Bellinger, Cubs

The 2017 NL Rookie of the Year and 2019 NL MVP has a mutual option year with the Cubs after this season, and with them failing to really be competitive this season, it seems likely that Bellinger may be out of Chicago one way or another in 2024. In the three seasons following his MVP campaign, the righty struggled a ton, dropping from .305 with 47 homers and 115 RBI to a combined total of 41 home runs with a .203 batting average from 2020-2022. This year he's rebounded, hitting .298 in 58 games. He is still just 27 and could be a long-term addition should the Phillies try and extend him.

Lane Thomas, Nationals

Also 27 years old, this one might be just as big an uphill battle as getting Bellinger. Though he's not a household name, the Nationals may be a little stringent about trading a hitter as hot as he is within the division to the Phillies. Thomas is hitting .302 this season playing every day in right field. His 14 home runs would put him second on the entire roster in Philly, and he's under team control for two more seasons. The Nats should be in sell mode come the end of July, and Thomas could be their big-ticket item.

Mark Canha, Mets

Canha has a much lower ceiling than Bellinger, but could be a cheaper acquisition as he is 34 and could become a free agent next season (he has a mutual option). He's hit .245/.345/.403 with nine home runs and is a more serviceable defender in left field than Schwarber is.

Adam Duvall, Red Sox

This would be a true rental, as Duvall is only signed by Boston for this season. He has hit for a decent .257 batting average but more importantly, he's two years removed from a Gold Glove, can play all three outfield positions, and has thrice hit 30 homers in a season.

Tyler O'Neill, Cardinals

Though he hasn't been a really good hitter for a few seasons (he hit .286 in 2021, but has hit .228 since), O'Neill is a two-time Gold Glover in left field and hits from the right side, so he would be a fit for the Phillies needs. He has one year of arbitration remaining for the 2024 season.

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