The Phillies capped off their West Coast trip by winning their final two games against the Padres, but there is much to be concerned following a road trip that saw them lose five consecutive games, suffer yet another injury in the outfield, lose a key bullpen arm and see their division lead dwindle to just 1.5 games.
Between Odubel Herrera’s legal troubles and injuries to Dylan Cozens and Roman Quinn, the last thing the Phillies could afford was for Andrew McCutchen to go down as the team is now without an everyday center fielder. The team promoted Adam Haseley to the majors after McCutchen was injured, but he spent just one week at the Triple-A level before his call up and there is a concern that he is not ready just yet for the big leagues. Scott Kingery may get a few spot starts in center field, but with Maikel Franco hitting just .168 with two home runs since May 1, it’s more likely that Kingery will start getting steady playing time in the hot corner.
But McCutchen was more than just a valuable leadoff hitter in Philadelphia, the former MVP was a team leader and a great clubhouse presence, something that is even harder to replace. Jack Fritz of 94WIP outlined some potential options on the trade market yesterday and I think the best option for Philadelphia is Diamondbacks outfielder Adam Jones. Jones is on a cheap, one-year $3 million deal with Arizona and given his age (he turns 34 in August), he won’t be an expensive acquisition. Jones currently owns a slash line of .276/.321/.500. He isn’t the center fielder he once was, evidenced by his -14.8 UZR/150 last season, but he can carry the bulk of the load for Philadelphia in a platoon situation.
Despite being ravaged by injuries, the Phillies bullpen has endured, owning a 4.20 ERA, but if Seranthony Dominguez is headed to the injured list, the team is in trouble. After a rough start to the season, Dominguez has found his footing over the last month, owning a 2.38 ERA and limiting batters to a .200 average. Other relievers on the injured list include Victor Arano, who was just transferred to the 60-day IL, David Robertson, who had a setback in his rehab last month, Pat Neshek, who has rotator cuff inflammation, Adam Morgan (forearm strain), Tommy Hunter and Edubray Ramos, both of which are expected to return to the team at some point in June.
It’s hard to predict injuries and the Phillies have been hit hard in that department. Even worse is that some of their key contributors are out for an indefinite period of time. The team has been connected to Blake Treinen of Oakland, but the Athletics are only two games out of the second Wild Card spot in the American League, so there is a good chance they stand pat. Perhaps the Phillies bring back a familiar face in Ken Giles, who has an impressive 1.08 ERA while pitching in the AL East. Known for his fastball, which can reach 103 miles per hour, Giles has also carved out his slider since leaving Philadelphia and now throws both pitches nearly 50 percent of the time. Giles has one more year of arbitration left, so he will be a more expensive option.
The saving grace for Philadelphia has been the struggles of everyone else in the division. The Marlins were never expected to contend and dwell in the basement of the division, the Mets starting rotation has taken a step back and are now as mediocre as their offense, Washington’s bullpen has a league-worst 6.68 ERA that has cost them a lot of games and Atlanta failed to capitalize on the Phillies losing streak, losing three straight of their own and four of their last seven. Despite the horrific bullpen, the Nationals have been the best team in the division recently, winning nine of their last 11 games. Despite being in fourth place in the division, they are a manageable 6.5 games out of first place. Adding Craig Kimbrel would have been a significant addition, but now that he is in Chicago, they will have to join Philadelphia and scour the trade market.
Philadelphia entered this season with the goal of making the playoffs for the first time since 2011 and at this point, it’s hard to see the roster as is making the postseason. Philadelphia is treading water at the moment and it’s time to make that big splash in the trade market.