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June 01, 2019

Phillies reportedly on the verge of trading for Mariners OF Jay Bruce

A decision has yet to be reached regarding the future of Phillies centerfielder Odubel Herrera, arrested last weak for domestic abuse in Atlantic City, but it appears the club won't be wasting any time addressing their short-term future and sudden lack of depth in the outfield.

According to ESPN's Jeff Passan (and confirmed by Matt Gelb of The Athletic) the Phillies are closing in on a deal with the Mariners to acquire veteran outfielder Jay Bruce. A trade will reportedly be finalized in the next 24 hours, but no word yet on what the Phillies might be giving up in the deal.

Per Gelb, the Phillies will absorb the full remainder of Bruce's contract, which will cost them $14 million in 2020. That alone suggests that the trade cost for Philly won't be too bad.

Bruce, 32, has played mostly right field and first base throughout his 12-year career, and those are two positions that likely aren't changing after the Phillies spent $330 million on Bryce Harper and moved MVP candidate Rhys Hoskins from the outfield back to his natural position at first. 

Of course, Bruce could simply be a depth move for the Phillies, who have been using Scott Kingery and Nick Williams to fill Herrera's spot in the lineup. The Phillies' pinch-hitters have been the worst in the league in 2019 and Bruce should help that. He also gives them the option of starting him in left field against righties, with Andrew McCutchen in center. This season, Bruce is hitting just .212 for Seattle, but is a career .246 hitter and recently hit his 300th career home run. 

The move, ultimately, may be more than just a short-term solution to the Herrera situation, as Bruce's 14 home runs this season would currently lead the Phillies, who are near the bottom of the league in that category. He also adds a left-handed bat to the lineup, something the team needed even before Herrera's arrest. 

Oh, and Bruce — while this might not be the move fans were expecting next from the Phillies, who are in desperate need of pitching help — has a history of crushing the ball at Citizens Bank Park.

Either way, it appears the Phillies are planning for life beyond Herrera, whether the MLB suspends him or not. Stay tuned.

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