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Phillies reportedly expected to target left-handed bench bat this summer

Matt Klentak is in his fourth season as Phillies general manager. (Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)

There’s still over two months until baseball’s July 31 trade deadline, but you’re beginning to hear the Phillies bandied about quite a bit as a team that will be active on the trade market this summer.

The Phillies most pressing need appears to be another front-line starter, with the team reportedly having scouted Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Zack Greinke and San Francisco Giants LHP Madison Bumgarner in the last 10 days. But, as the Phillies look to return to the postseason for the first time since 2011, they’ll look to make upgrades elsewhere on their roster as well.

One of those areas, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, is a left-handed hitting bench piece. Rosenthal added that the Phillies plan to target a player with a track record of success pinch-hitting that has pop. Rosenthal opined that Matt Adams of the Washington Nationals could be a fit, assuming the Nationals don’t climb back into the playoff race.

From the Phillies perspective, Adams is an interesting option. He can play left and right field, but the Phillies have Andrew McCutchen and Bryce Harper entrenched at those positions, and Rhys Hoskins at first base, where Adams plays primarily. Of course, you would primarily be adding Adams to pinch-hit. Still, you may prefer an option that’s capable of playing third base and/or center field, neither of which Adams does.

It’s possible – if not likely – then that the Phillies could add multiple bench pieces before the trade deadline. They may add a bench power bat like Adams, and also an outfielder capable of playing all three spots. Backup catcher could be an interesting place for the Phillies to look at, but given how well Deivy Grullon is playing for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, it appears that the Phillies feel good about Andrew Knapp backing up J.T. Realmuto. They may not feel quite as good about how often Gabe Kapler has used Knapp as a pinch-hitter, which would explain their desire to add more options off the bench.

It’s difficult, a couple days before Memorial Day, to project exactly which teams will be sellers at the trade deadline. A team like the Baltimore Orioles will certainly sell, but they don’t have much to offer. Other potential sellers, such as the Oakland Athletics, aren’t out of the playoff picture this early in the season.

With that in mind, though, Miami Marlins first baseman Neil Walker, San Francisco Giants corner infielder Pablo Sandoval, Chicago White Sox DH Yonder Alonso and Cincinnati Reds infielder/outfielder Derek Dietrich could all theoretically fit this bill.


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