Phillies could still bolster infield depth with “lesser” free agents

Iglesias in action for the Tigers at Orioles 4/28/18 (Keith Allison/WikiCommons)

Most of the talk surrounding the Philadelphia Phillies and the pursuit of further free agent help rightfully surrounds the big names of outfielder Bryce Harper and infielder Manny Machado.

However, the club could still use a more veteran option as a reserve infielder. That would cease to be the case if Machado is signed and both Hernandez and Franco remain with the team, but that scenario seems like a long-shot at best.

As things stand today the Phillies starting infield would be made up of first baseman Rhys Hoskins, second baseman Cesar Hernandez, shortstop Jean Segura, and third baseman Maikel Franco.

Manager Gabe Kapler has also announced that Franco would be directly challenged in spring training by Scott Kingery, who remains blocked at his natural position by the presence of Hernandez, who is in the final year of his contract.

Only two other infield options are currently on the Phillies 40-man roster. One of those is 21-year old Arquimedes Gamboa, who is not likely to see big-league action this season, and who isn’t much of a prospect in any event. The other is Mitch Walding, a 26-year-old corner infielder who has 19 big-league plate appearances to his name.

The club has a handful of players with infield experience who are signed and participating at spring training as non-roster invitees: Malquin Canelo, Phil Gosselin, Austin Listi, Gift Ngoepe, Gregorio Petit, Andrew Romine, and Sean Rodriguez.

Rodriguez was probably the most attractive of those options, the one with the best chance to actually help the Phillies at the big-league level. The 33-year-old has 11-years of experience in Major League Baseball and has played every position on the diamond except catcher and pitcher.

Unfortunately, Rodriguez has now reportedly suffered a torn right meniscus (knee tendon) and may require surgery. Depending on the severity and the pace of his recovery it could mean that he won’t be able to play until later in the summer.

There do remain some veteran free agent options should the Phillies decide to look outside of the organization for infield bench help. One of those is former two-time NL All-Star Josh Harrison, who has started in MLB at both second base and third base, and who has also filled in at shortstop and the outfield. I wrote about him here at Phillies Nation almost exactly one month ago.

Another option is former AL All-Star Jose Iglesias. The runner-up for the 2013 AL Rookie of the Year award has seven seasons of big-league experience, most of those as a starting shortstop. However, he has also seen time at both second base and third base.

It was just a couple of seasons ago that Brad Miller was banging 30 home runs with the Tampa Bay Rays. Now a 29-year-old free agent, he has played first base, second base, and shortstop over the last few years. He saw a bit of third base early in his career as well.

32-year-old Logan Forsythe hit 20 homers with that same 2016 Tampa Bay club that Miller was a part of, and has seen time at every infield position in an eight-year career in Major League Baseball. Other available veteran options include Danny Valencia, Ryan Schimpf, Jose Reyes, Chase Headley, and Brandon Phillips.

While this is not likely a priority item for the Phillies at this point, keep these names in mind. Once the anticipated bigger name deal is finally wrapped up, and once the team gets a little deeper into the spring, you could see general manager Matt Klentak take a look at these kinds of options to shore up Gabe Kapler’s bench.






  1. Pam

    February 19, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    Sorry, Austin Romine is a Yankee! Andrew on the other hand is an awesome ultra utility guy the Phillies should use a lot. I would really hope that a writer covering the team would know the names of the major league players.

    • Matthew Veasey

      February 19, 2019 at 8:38 pm

      Hi Pam. Thanks for pointing out an innocent brain-cramp error. Of course I know the difference. It was a simple mistake. Please feel free to point out any you come across, and we’ll try to get it corrected.

  2. jeffrey m orbach

    February 19, 2019 at 10:08 pm

    I would like to see them get Josh Harrison. A very solid addition who can play 3rd and fill a lot of holes.

    • schmenkman

      February 19, 2019 at 10:28 pm

      Who would Harrison take at bats from? I prefer both Franco (as the 3B starter) and Kingery (as the utility guy) over Harrison.

  3. Jeff Orbach

    February 20, 2019 at 8:53 am

    I’m not as a big a fan of Franco as you are. He’s basically a statue at 3rd base which is not optimal if you employ as many shifts as Kapler seems to do.I also believe he’s going to eat his way out of baseball unless he gets his late season weight gain under control.

    I see Harrison as the player Kingery could be if he’s allowed to grow into it. I see him as a defensive replacement at 3rd after the 7th inning-bench bat and depth just about everywhere.

    I wouldn’t pay huge amounts of money but this late in the game, I think it’s possible to get him at a huge discount.

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