Which center fielders could the Phillies target in a trade?

If it wasn’t a certainty before the season, it sure is now — the Phillies need help in center field.

Could four-time All-Star Charlie Blackmon be a trade target for the Phillies? (All-Pro Reels from District of Columbia, USACC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Adam Haseley is on the restricted list due to personal reasons, Roman Quinn is struggling and Mickey Moniak has found success in recent days but is probably still a year or two of development away. Phillies center fielders have just five hits on the year.

Scott Kingery was called up from the team’s alternate training site in Lehigh Valley and appeared in center field in Wednesday’s game, but will likely see most of his playing time in the infield. He was recalled in response to second baseman Jean Segura’s placement on the 10-day injured list. Kingery may not be a permanent fixture on the major-league team once it gets either Segura or Ronald Torreyes back from the IL, as the Phillies have had a more patient development plan in mind for Kingery.

The team also has Odúbel Herrera working at the alternate training site now, but he hasn’t played in the majors since May of 2019 following his arrest and subsequent suspension for domestic violence. Herrera was also not producing the last time he was on the field for the Phillies and isn’t currently on the 40-man roster.

In reality, there appears to be no good internal answer for the position. The Phillies will likely need a boost from someone outside the organization in order to compete down the stretch. Here are a few potential center fielders that the Phillies could target in a trade if available:

Jake Marisnick, Chicago Cubs

The 30-year-old Marisnick has been a solid defender throughout his major-league career and has a .733 OPS since the start of 2017 — although it should be noted that his career-best 2017 season with the sign-stealing Houston Astros carries a lot of that weight. He signed a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2022 before this season, but could very well wind up on the trade market if the Cubs remain out of National League Central contention.

Marisnick would be an option with a lower batting average with some pop, better suited against left-handed pitchers. The center-field defense, however, would not be a concern with Marisnick out there.

Ben Gamel, Cleveland Indians

Gamel is off to a slow start this season, but has proven to be a fairly consistent hitter throughout his big-league career. The owner of a .716 OPS, the left-hander will hover around league-average hitting year after year. It’s nothing flashy, but it’s still much better than what the Phillies are getting out of their center fielders at the moment.

The 28-year-old has leadoff experience, while also spending most of his time near the bottom of the order. He could provide serviceable defense in center as well.

Michael A. Taylor, Kansas City Royals

While Phillies fans will remember Taylor from his time with the National League East-rival and 2019 World Series champion Washington Nationals, the 30-year-old is with Kansas City on a one-year deal. He’s only slashed .239/.293/.395 throughout his eight-year career, but does have a .744 OPS in 61 plate appearances to start this season.

Taylor would be a very helpful pickup on the defensive end for the Phillies. As a part-time outfielder for his career, he has amassed 29 defensive runs saved in center field and 36 DRS overall.

Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies

This is the kind of move the Phillies make if they decide to double down on this roster and disregard the luxury tax. Blackmon turns 35 this season and is under contract through 2023 with a salary of $18 million counting against the luxury tax. However, he would be a huge boost to the Phillies lineup upon arrival.

The major concerns are his age and the fact that Blackmon is no longer a good defender — and, quite frankly, no longer a center fielder. He hasn’t played the position since 2018, when he had -26 DRS that season. Perhaps moving from away from the spacious Coors Field into the smaller Citizens Bank Park could help hide some of Blackmon’s flaws. His defense in center would still be far from good, but getting that .862 career OPS into the lineup would be a major addition as long as the fielding isn’t a complete disaster.

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Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers

If Gallo becomes available for trade, he could serve as the kind of splash Dave Dombrowski has been known to make. The 27-year-old is a low-batting average, high-power kind of hitter. What makes him different than others of that mold is that he can still get on base with walks, slashing .209/.332/.491 for his career.

Gallo has played all over the diamond, but his 309 2/3 innings in center field during his injury-shortened 2019 season make him stick out most as a Phillies trade candidate. He was worth 2 DRS during that stretch. 40-plus homer threat and above-average defense in center is a scary combination to have. Making just over $6 million this season and under contract for next, Gallo might be the best all-in acquisition on the market for the Phillies.


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