The MLB non-waiver traded deadline arrives a week from tomorrow, on Friday, July 31st at 4:00pm EDT.
There have been, and will continue to be unless or until a deal is culminated, numerous rumors involving any number of Phillies players.
I’m going to take a look at a few of them over the next few days.
Rather than simply regurgitate all of the rumor and misinformation flying around the internet, and across both TV and radio broadcasts these days, let’s simply take a look at which legitimate contenders could actually use some of the available, healthy Phils pieces as that deadline approaches.
The 31-year old Jeff Francoeur is healthy, in great shape, and proving that he is far from washed up. He can play both right and left field well, has a cannon for an arm, and still has game-ready power in his bat. Francoeur is hitting .262 and has eight home runs and 31 RBI in just 203 plate appearances.
He has shown a willingness to come off the bench both defensively and as a pinch-hitter, and has had success in those roles. He can also start for you in a pinch, and be very effective, especially in short stretches.
On top of all that, “Frenchy” is a tremendous locker room presence. Every team in baseball could use a player like him.
The price to acquire him would be light, probably some type of young, half-decent upside bullpen-type arm.
Contenders that appear most in need of his type of services, a righthanded outfielder for the bench, include the following. Also noted, what these clubs are using in that role:
The Nats continue to lead the NL East despite a series of injuries that would have sent lesser talented teams spinning into mediocrity. The return of those players would reshape their lineup and their trade deadline needs.
However, getting any of Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth, and Denard Span healthy for any length of time as individuals players, let alone as a group, has been impossible to this point.
Francoeur would make for not only a strong option while they are out, but would also provide a strong bench player if they do return. He certainly seems like a better option than either Matt den Dekker or Tyler Moore.
At this moment, the Cubbies are clinging to the 2nd NL Wildcard by just a half game. They are a young team that could absolutely use a positive, veteran presence as the games get more intense in the dog days of August and the stretch run of September.
Francoeur seems like a better option than Chris Denorfia, who is currently filling their right-handed depth outfielder role, but they wouldn’t necessarily be redundant on a team that needs that experience.
The Buccos lead the NL Wildcard race by 3.5 games, and are still in contention in the NL Central, where they trail the Cardinals by 6 games. Their starting outfield is supremely talented.
But when 25-year old Jaff Decker is your primary righty bench outfield option, you need some help. Francoeur would slot into this clubhouse and roster perfectly. This is perhaps the best fit of them all.
Assuming Hunter Pence gets back and stays healthy in right, the defending World Series have as their righty outfielder…Justin Maxwell? Really?
Francoeur is not only better in every way, but he also has experience playing by the Bay, where he played during July and August of the 2013 season.
The GMen may want to stop making the playoffs only in ‘even’ years, and a guy like Frenchy could be real help in making that happen.
You can’t tell me that Buck Showalter wouldn’t want a guy like Frenchy in his locker room. Delmon Young? Nolan Reimold? Give me Francoeur any day over either of those two as a righty bench/platoon option.
The Orioles are part of a 6-7 team scrum right now for the 2nd AL Wildcard, and are six back of the Yankees in the AL East. Incremental improvements can get them into the postseason.
The Angels continue to lead the AL West, currently by three games in the loss column over the Astros, who just acquired Scott Kazmir to bolster their rotation. They desperately need starting pitching of their own.
However, they also start Matt Joyce in left field, and have some truly ugly bench options. Frenchy would really help the Halos down the stretch.
There are, of course, other possibilities. As I stated in the beginning, every team could use a player of the skill set and character of Jeff Francoeur.
Of course, the Phillies might decide that any return for him simply would not outweigh bringing him back for their own locker room.
The team is rebuilding, and having this type of player around every day for young players to be exposed to is its own benefit.