The rebuilding Philadelphia Phillies escaped the cellar of the National League East Division in the 2016 season. Despite improving by seven games in the standings, the club continued to show significant shortcomings.
The greatest area of short-term concern for the Fightin’ Phils remains with offensive production from the lineup. The 2016 Phillies were the worst offensive team in baseball.
This past season, the Phillies finished last in runs scored (610) by a wide margin. The 29th place team, the division rival Atlanta Braves, scored 649 times. The top two scoring teams in the NL, the Colorado Rockies and World Series champion Chicago Cubs, scored 845 and 808 runs, respectively.
There has been a great deal of speculation in recent months that the Phillies might be interested in adding a new bat to their outfield mix. This addition would come either from signing an available free agent or via trade.
One new outfielder has already been brought on board. The Phillies traded for Howie Kendrick, installing him as the new left fielder. It is believed now that the club is looking to add a more proven right fielder, or a left-handed bat to platoon at first base with Tommy Joseph.
On Sunday morning, Phillies President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail was a guest on MLB Network Radio’s “Front Office” program. Per Jim Bowden, MacPhail stated that the Phillies are indeed looking to add a left-handed bat.
With this revelation, all previous speculation is now an official Phillies organizational position. So the team is indeed looking for a left-handed bat, preferably with some pop. What are the options?
OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO FIT PHILLIES DESIRE
Available left-handed or switch-hitting free agents include Pedro Alvarez, Kelly Johnson, Adam Lind, Justin Morneau and Logan Morrison. Also available are Brandon Moss, Angel Pagan, Colby Rasmus, Michael Saunders and Matt Wieters.
And of course, both Chase Utley and Ryan Howard have demonstrated pop in the past. Each of these former Phillies heroes remain available as free agents.
One lefty option available via trade is Jay Bruce of the New York Mets. A younger possibility is Joey Gallo of the Texas Rangers.
While the Phillies are not going to turn back the clock by signing either Utley or Howard, any of the other names are possibilities. MacPhail and General Manager Matt Klentak are certainly mulling each of these and other options.
The ideal bat would be left-handed, of course. It would also be someone who could play both first base and the outfield. Also, it would be someone willing to sign a short-term deal, preferably for one year. Certainly no more than a two-year deal will be offered to such a player.
With today’s statement by MacPhail, the Phillies’ position is clear. Expect them to certainly add one lefty hitter to the mix of the type mentioned. Exactly which one is something that will now be speculated upon by those covering the team until a deal is done.