Analysis

Phillies Looking For Outfield Help?

The infield is set.  The race for the final bullpen spot is likely down to either Phillippe Aumont or Michael Stutes.  But what about the Phillies outfield?

Should the Phils go with Ender Inciarte or look to add someone else to be the fifth outfielder?

Should the Phils go with Ender Inciarte or look to add someone else to be the fifth outfielder?

Ben Revere and Domonic Brown are locked into everyday spots in center and right.  Left field, at least in the short term, will be manned by some combination of John Mayberry and Laynce Nix.  While Delmon Young’s bat appears to be fine – he homered off R.A. Dickey in a minor league game on Friday – his ankle is still not.  Young is strictly limited to a DH role for now, and still won’t be back until May according to Phillies.com’s Todd Zolecki.

As for that fifth outfield spot, the winner is anyone’s guess.

There is Ender Inciarte, the toolsy but raw Rule 5 selection who the Phillies must keep on their major league roster all year or risk losing back to the Diamondbacks.  The Phillies have indicated that they like Inciarte, but unlike in recent years, they may not have the luxury (or the talent) to stash a player at the end of the bench who is not yet ready to effectively contribute at the major league level.

Zolecki’s story corroborates a Sunday evening report from Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly that the Phillies could be shopping for outfield help.  Salibury speculates that Casper Wells and Ryan Sweeney could soon be available.  Wells and Sweeney, both 28, are considered solid defenders but also both posted sub-.700 OPS seasons last year.  If either is an upgrade over Inciarte, it probably isn’t by much.

Even Freddy Galvis got some time in the outfield on Saturday afternoon.

Brown’s impressive spring has eased concerns for many in Philadelphia that thought the Phillies outfield could be a disaster in 2013.  But between playing Galvis in the outfield and the reported whispers in Clearwater, it is apparent that the Phillies are not happy with what they have in place out there.

Charlie Manuel has implied that whoever is hot will fill the void in left field until Young’s ankle is game-ready.  Here is Zolecki’s interpretation of that Manuel had to say:

That means John Mayberry Jr. or Laynce Nix, although the Phillies are searching for outfield help with less than a week to play before Opening Day.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement… and for good reason.  At this point, Mayberry is what he is – a valuable bench player who can hit lefties and play all three outfield positions.  When he is only getting 250 at bats, he can really help you (see 2011).  When it is more like 450, he turns into a liability (see 2012).

Nix, however, is a little more of an enigma.  Before he injured his calf in May, Nix’s Phillies career was off to a great start.  Not only was he hitting .326/.392/.587 on May 9, but Nix was displaying the type of patient plate approach that this team has lacked since the World Series years.  Once Nix returned, he was a different player and his OPS fell back into mid-.700 range typical of prior seasons.

None of these left field solutions are ideal, which is why the Phillies are contemplating moves in the first place.  So what do you guys think – do the Phillies need to make a move in the next week to add an outfielder or did they miss their chance?

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Ken Bland

    March 26, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    do the Phillies need to make a move in the next week to add an outfielder or did they miss their chance?”

    Put it this way. They need to keep doing due dilligence and exploring options. The way Mayberry and Nix have played this spring, it’s not the sort of performances that get an automatic pass. But applying Charlie’s infamous line when pitching wasn’t what it later became and hopefully still is around here, “Don’t gimme what I have already.” But they should certainly keep their eyes open, whereas to some other components of the club, you can pretty much feel comfty with. Pretty generic answer suggests there may not be much out there.

  2. MikeyPaDc

    March 26, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    It appears as if NO ONE is available. And no one that represents a solid upgrade over Nix/Mayberry so lets stay put until Vernon Wells, I mean Delmon Young returns.

    And what were Aaron Cooks numbers like? Is it good/bad to see him go?

    • wbramh

      March 27, 2013 at 11:54 am

      I thought our ghost right fileder’s name was Delmon Bynum.

  3. Jaron B

    March 26, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    They can probably chance Mayberry, Nix and Inciarte until Young returns. An OF wouldn’t hurt because Inciarte is inexperience at AA & AAA and April looks to be a tough month with Halladay struggling early and some defensive issues in the OF & catcher positions.

  4. George

    March 26, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Unless a major trade happens, there are no upgrades I can see to Mayberry/Nix.

    Cook was okay but not great in ST, but he’s been horrible the past three years. Probably good that he’s gone so that he isn’t taking starts from the AAA pitchers.

  5. MikeyPaDc

    March 26, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    @George, thank you

  6. Lefty

    March 26, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    It’s not true there are no good outfielders available. I hear Juan Pierre and Raul Ibanez wouldn’t cost much. If you put both of them in Left field, together they might be able to throw a ball all the way from the warning track to back to the cutoff man. 🙂

  7. MikeyPaDc

    March 26, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    @lefty, haha

  8. Midwestphillyphan

    March 26, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Two words–Manny Ramirez

    • George

      March 27, 2013 at 9:36 am

      Two words–bad idea.

  9. Davey Jones

    March 27, 2013 at 4:45 am

    Knowing the way Ruben Amari Jr. Has an itchy trigger finger in regardes to trades, it’ll get done that way. I can’t imagine it being another “uncertain” to crowd an outfield already full of “uncertains”. At least I pray it’s via trade for some proven MLB talent. With a week until the season starts, there’s very little margin for error when expecting what you’re gonna get out of a player.

  10. Davey Jones

    March 27, 2013 at 4:47 am

    Amaro**

  11. wbramh

    March 27, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    I guess nobody can imagine Galvis ending up in left field and I assume Charlie’s only putting him in any field to give him at-bats since the infield is set. The fact that Galvis has more extra base hits than Nix and Mayberry combined seems a meaningless figure to the baseball brass as does his quickness and ability to hit a cut-off man.

  12. Chuck A.

    March 27, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Did someone actually SERIOUSLY suggest Manny Ramirez as an option for left field? I would take a 2013 version of the retired Pat Burrell or our old pal, Raul Ibanez, over that washed-up clown anyway.

    I DO like Galvis out there as an occasional option, though. If he can play some outfield, along with 3 infield positions, then Charlie can get him enough ABs to keep his development on track. Could we even use the designation “super utility”??? …

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