After the Phillies added Didi Gregorious to the roster on a one-year, $14 million deal, it signaled the likely end of anymore big spending this offseason. The infield seems nearly set with Gregorious playing shortstop, Jean Segura moving to second base, Scott Kingery at third and Rhys Hoskins at first.
As for the outfield, Bryce Harper will again man right field with Andrew McCutchen returning from an ACL injury to play left. That leaves center field, which will almost definitely be Adam Haseley’s job to lose heading into Spring Training.
“I expect that Adam Haseley is going to be our regular center fielder,” Phillies general manager Matt Klentak told Todd Zolecki at the Winter Meetings this week. “But having said that, I recognize that when Roman Quinn is healthy and playing to his potential, it’s hard to take him out of the lineup. I think that combination of players likely takes down the majority of our center field reps this year.”
Haseley, 23, joined the Phillies last season following Andrew McCutchen’s injury and Odubel Herrera’s suspension. In 67 games, he slashed .266/.324/.396 with five homers, 30 runs scored and 26 RBIs. His batting average on balls in play was .344, which shows his potential to become a solid hitter at the big league level.
“He had some ups and downs,” Klentak continued. “It wasn’t a perfect rookie season. But I think he gives a real good at-bat. He’s got a very good idea of the strike zone — he had that as an amateur and he started to show it at the big league level. I know his walk-to-strikeout totals weren’t great, but I think if you watch his at-bats, I think you can see he has that skill and I think as he starts to become more comfortable at this level, we’ll start to see that more and more. I was also impressed with his defense.”
Although Haseley isn’t a great center fielder, he’s also not a bad option and will almost certainly improve with more reps in center. In less than half a season, Haseley ended up leading the Phillies with 13 defensive runs saved. To put that in perspective, Odubel Herrera’s DRS was a -11 in 2018. It was a -4 before he got suspended. Haseley also put up a respectable 1.2 dWAR (defensive wins above replacement) in his 65 games between center, left and right field.Embed from Getty Images
In addition to Haseley, Klentak mentioned Roman Quinn getting an opportunity for outfield playing time. That will depend a lot on if he’s able to stay healthy. Since being drafted by the Phillies in 2011, Quinn has not played more than 88 games in a season. The last time he played more than 60 games was his 2014 season in High ‘A’ ball. Still, despite his injury-history, Quinn provides great speed off the bench and can drive the ball too. In 13 games during the month of August, Quinn slashed .368/.455/.684 with three home runs and nine runs scored.
Haseley and Quinn will get the biggest chunk of playing time in center, but Odubel Herrera still remains on the roster. Matt Klentak said that anything that happens with Herrera from here on out is going to be performance drive and he’ll have to earn everything. Klentak also addressed Nick Williams‘ standing on the team. Williams remains on the 40-man roster but didn’t get much playing time at all last season. It was not news to anyone that Williams and former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler did not see eye-to-eye and Klentak’s advice to the 26-year old is to just put the past in the past.
“It’s probably a good thing for him to turn the page from last year and come in and get a fresh start,” Klentak said about Williams. “There will be opportunities this year. Are they Opening Day or during the season? I don’t know. But there will be opportunities for him. I’m pretty confident in that.”
Williams slashed .288/.338/.473 with 12 home runs in 83 games upon call up in 2017. He was an everyday starter in 2018, hitting .256 with 17 home runs and 50 RBIs. The signings of Harper and McCutchen paired with some injuries and inconsistent play caused Williams to sink on the depth chart and he hasn’t been able to climb out since.
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