The Philadelphia Phillies combined outfield dWAR is -2.7. That’s tied for fourth worst in the MLB.
Their overall WAR is 0.6, the third worst in the MLB despite having the National League leader in home runs in leftfield. *DOUBLE KILL* – in Halo voice.
Something’s got to give, and with the Trade Deadline among us, it’s time the Phillies upgrade their outfield.
Here are three attractive and affordable options that will give the Phils an immediate upgrade in the deepest corners of Citizens Bank Park.
Potential Phillies Upgrades
Michael A. Taylor – CF – Kansas City Royals
A former Washington National, who we already know looks fantastic in red, could right the ship in centerfield. It may not be the Kansas City Royal you were hoping for, but this is the defensive upgrade that could change this team.
With a dWAR of 0.9, he would instantaneously become the most prolific defender the Phillies have had in center since the 2017 iteration of Odúbel Herrera (dWAR of 1.2, if you can believe it).
Michael A Taylor home run ROBBERY @Starting9 pic.twitter.com/J1aZj5pZN7
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) May 2, 2022
He’s no slouch on offense either. A .264 batting average would be a welcome addition to the bottom third of the lineup. The only problem is his contract because Taylor’s in the first year of a two-year, $9MM deal.
That’s a lot of money to acquire a defensive upgrade but could lessen the haul the Phillies have to forfeit.
What it would take: the Phillies might be ready to call it a day on Mickey Moniak, but he’s still very young at 24, so I don’t think that’s on the table. This gets done with the Phillies’ 24th and 25th overall prospects, RHP Christian Hernandez and catcher Donny Sands – a model similar to the Jorge Soler trade a year ago.
What’s a luxury tax?
Brandon Drury – 2B, 3B, OF – Cincinatti Reds
Beautiful things come in one-year contracts. After signing a ‘prove-it’ $900K deal this offseason with the Reds, Drury would be a rental but no doubt a Swiss Army Knife for the Phillies defensively.
And although the Phillies would be the sixth team of the 29-year-old’s career, he’s having something of an offensive Rennessaisce, almost akin to watching him make the jump from a prospect with ‘double power’ to a legitimate slugger.
His eighteen home runs have already eclipsed his previous career high. Paired with a .868 OPS, he’s an attractive addition to a team in need of help in the outfield and periodic support at third and second base.
18 of 'em for Brandon Drury. pic.twitter.com/3P0vbbGDZN
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 8, 2022
He’s not the centerfielder that the Phillies genuinely desire, but we know he can jump back into the outfield, where he has a .990 fielding percentage in either left or right field for his career.
He’s the type of trade that would likely hurt the playing time of a Matt Vierling or Bryson Stott, so the Phillies need to decide if half a season of Drury makes sense in place of experience for the young guns.
It is decision-making time – is this team a real contender or another year away?
What it would take: most teams will overpay this deadline, inflation, man (lol). The Phillies’ 7th overall prospect, Luis García, gets this done without much argument. The Reds also pay for the rest of Drury’s 2022 contract.
Ramón Laureano – CF – Oakland Athletics
Certainly, I could see why you’d be skeptical of going to war with Billy Beane. The man’s responsible for, in my opinion, the most excellent sports movie of my lifetime.
This certainly isn’t a defensive upgrade given his -0.8 dWAR, but if the Phillies really want to lean into bats over bungles, Laureano would be an interesting add.
Ramon Laureano puts the A’s on the board first with a solo shot to deep center field! Toronto might actually get swept by one of the worst teams in baseball… #DrumTogether #NextLevel #Athletics #BlueJays #MLB pic.twitter.com/GqD65GwNfq
— Baseball Today (@dailymlbtweets) July 6, 2022
He’s three seasons removed from the best year of his career, but he has a .937 OPS against lefties in 2022, and the Phillies would be betting on the 27-year-old having a Zack Wheeler-like maturation.
Laureano hits arbitration next year, so he comes with 2.5 years of control. This has the most upside of the three trades I’ve proposed, but not without a price.
What it would take: Laureano is comparable to a cheaper, more controllable Joey Gallo. At the Deadline in 2021, the Rangers fetched four of the Yankees’ Top 30 prospects.
The Phillies would need something similar if the Athletics were willing to move him. The Phillies send Vierling, 8th overall prospect Griff McGarry, and 19th overall prospect Simón Muzziotti.
It’s a lot to give, but it’s an aggressive market, and Beane knows that.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson