As the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches, it appears that the Philadelphia Phillies are interested in adding an outfielder that could both push for time in right field, and serve as a bench upgrade.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Matt Klentak and the Phillies are interested in veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson:
#Phillies talking to #BlueJays about Granderson, sources tell The Athletic. PHI looking for left-handed bat off bench and occasional starter in OF. Demoted fourth outfielder Altherr to AAA last night. Granderson .230/.337/.417 in 274 plate appearances this season.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 23, 2018
Much to the chagrin of some, I suggested earlier this month that the 37-year-old could be a good fit for the Phillies. The three-time All-Star has a wealth of playoff experience, having appeared in the World Series with both the Detroit Tigers and New York Mets. Though he was ultimately left off the World Series roster a season ago, he was employed by the Los Angeles Dodgers during their seven-game World Series with the Houston Astros as well. On one of the sport’s youngest rosters, Granderson would join Carlos Santana and Jake Arrieta as veterans with extensive experience playing October baseball.
Granderson is currently slashing .230/.337/.417 with nine home runs and 29 RBIs. It hasn’t been an ideal month of July for Granderson – he’s hitting just .146 – but he still has some pop, and the Phillies are rather desperate for outfield depth currently. In the midst of what has turned in to a disastrous individual season, the Phillies optioned Aaron Altherr to Triple-A Lehigh Valley Sunday evening. Dylan Cozens, who has 12 strikeouts in 18 at-bats at the major league level, is likely to replace him. Even Nick Williams, who has been extremely effective as a pinch-hitter, is hitting just .231 as a starter.
Under contract for just $5 million in 2018, the Phillies would maintain flexibility if they acquired Granderson. At the very least, he would upgrade their bench. He may even earn some starts in right field. But at the conclusion of the season, he would become a free-agent (he may even retire). So if the Phillies wanted to give the Altherr/Williams platoon another chance in 2019, they would be free to do that. If they wanted to sign a free-agent right fielder (Bryce Harper?), they would be free to do that. So there wouldn’t seem to be much risk in making a trade for Granderson.