Which Right-Handed Hitting Outfielders Make Sense for the Phillies?

Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski garnered some attention this past weekend, when he talked to the media about the possibility of adding a right-handed hitting outfielder to the Philadelphia roster. The Phillies have options, but would Philadelphia be better off waiting? That might be the case.

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A Look at Potential Options for the Phillies

It’s understandable as to why the Phillies would be interested in another outfielder, despite a loaded group that includes Kyle Schwarber, Nick Castellanos, Brandon Marsh, and Bryce Harper once he returns. For one, it’s unclear as this juncture whether Harper, who spent most of the season at DH for health-related purposes, will be able to play the field in 2023. Additionally, Marsh’s ability to hit left-handers has to be somewhat of a concern.

A toolsy outfielder with terrific range and speed in the outfield, Marsh hit .245/.295/.384 with 11 home runs, 33 extra base hits and 52 RBIs in 2022. The 25-year-old also tallied ten stolen bases last season. But, Marsh did most of his damage against right-handed pitchers. The Phillies center fielder hit just .192 over 82 plate appearances against lefties with the Angels, and just .174 over 23 regular season appearances at the dish.

In totality, those are fine numbers for an outfielder whose best assets are his speed and fielding abilities. On the other hand, it’s understandable as to why the Phillies would want a right-handed bat to potentially platoon with Marsh

As things stand right now, infielder/outfielder Edmundo Sosa would be the likeliest primary platoon option for the Phillies in center. Sosa, much like Marsh, is good defensively, But, he too has deficiencies at the plate. Not to mention, the 27-year-old only has two games of MLB experience in the outfield. Primarily a middle infielder with the Cardinals, the Phillies used Sosa out in left for two games in 2022. He has, however, played in four games in the outfield this spring.

Sosa and Dalton Guthrie are arguably the best in-house options, but what about outside the organization? Well, a savvy defender like Michael A. Taylor would have made sense, had he not been dealt by Kansas City to the Twins this past winter. The free-agent market, at this point, isn’t deep at all. There are a few right-handed hitting outfielders with prior MLB experience like Guillermo Heredia and Lewis Brinson available, but would the Phillies pursue any of those names?

The most logical move that the Phillies could make is wait until the summer, when a number of pending free agents could be made more readily available. A player like Reds INF/OF Wil Myers, a right-handed bat with good pop and experience in center, would be a curious option for the Phillies. Rockies OF Randal Grichuk, who is set to be a free agent after the 2023 season, could be another possibility.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski stated that while adding a right-handed hitting outfielder has been considered, it’s not a formality that a move would be made. Dombrowski pointed to the fact that Marsh has been hitting lefties better this year, something that could make this point moot at the end of the day. In that case, it would make sense for the Phillies to wait at this stage of the season and then decide whether to give up capital for another bat.

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