March 15, 2023
The Phillies may have the deepest pools of talent for their bullpen and starting rotation they've had in a long time, but it appears the organization feels a little exposed when it comes to the outfield.
With Bryce Harper on the shelf for a few months as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, the only locks for the roster who play outfield are Kyle Schwarber, Nick Castellanos and Brandon Marsh. Two of those guys are left-handed hitters, and two are not known for being the best defensively.
The team was hoping Dalton Guthrie could earn a job out of spring training, but he's left a lot to be desired. Other outfield hopefuls, like Jake Cave and Kody Clemens have impressed to be sure, but they hit from the left side of the plate also.
With a healthy Harper (eventually), the Phillies will have a lineup that is relatively heavy on southpaw hitters. They could, at times, sport a lineup with five or six lefties based on their current pool of players, which is why it makes sense for them to prefer a right-handed one for the final spot.
According to The Athletic's Phillies beat writer Matt Gelb, the team is open to looking for help elsewhere. In a section of a recent article where he discusses utility infielder Edmundo Sosa's chances of learning to play in center, he wrote the following:
He saw time in center field Tuesday for the second time this spring. It was a mixed bag. He looked like someone who has played the position twice in his life. The Phillies, according to major-league sources, have told other teams they are looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder for a backup role. [The Athletic]
A trade could happen amid the shuffle of teams making roster cuts over the next few weeks and it would make sense for the Phillies, as they are clearly lacking that fourth outfielder (at least one who can hit from the right side). The Phils are likely to carry five bench players. Garrett Stubbs will be the backup catcher, with Darick Hall, Sosa and Josh Harrison as infield and DH options. You can see the rest of our most recent Opening Day roster projection here.
The final spot is going to go to a designated outfielder.
Whether Cave (who is mashing the ball at a .458 clip through nine games) or Clemens (.292 through 11 games) can convince the team to go with an in-house option remains to be seen. So too does whether Guthrie can turn around his less than encouraging .160 average this spring.
But don't be surprised to hear some new blood arriving in Clearwater over the next few weeks.
Follow Evan on Twitter:@evan_macy
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports