Are the Phillies looking to upgrade at the hot corner?
In the wake of J.P. Crawford’s broken hand, MLB.com’s Jon Morosi reports the Phillies have “shown interest” in future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre. In 45 games this year, Beltre is batting .302/.357/.428 with 3 homers and a wRC+ of 108 and, for the Phillies, their interest in him reportedly goes beyond the numbers.
The Phillies also have interest in Beltre, sources say, as much for his professionalism as his production. The Phils have the youngest group of position players in the Majors, and team officials see long-term value in Beltre’s influence on an emerging core. Plus, the recent injury to J.P. Crawford has opened up more at-bats on the infield.
Beltre is 39 years old and has spent two stints on the disabled list with hamstring issues this year. When he’s been on the field, he’s been productive, and the Phillies sure could use the help.
The Phils’ third basemen (Crawford, Maikel Franco and Scott Kingery) have combined to put up an fWAR of -0.3 this season, the worst mark in the National League. They have a collective slash line of .223/.287/.378 with 12 homers, 47 RBI and a wRC+ of 79, which is tied for last in the NL.
Beltre is a free agent at the end of the season and, armed with a full no-trade clause, would need to agree to a trade to Philadelphia. But he’s also seen as one of the good people in the game and would provide outstanding leadership to a young and inexperienced unit.
But Beltre isn’t the only option being linked to the Phils.
Source tells TGP that the Phillies have remained in contact with the Orioles about Manny Machado, and have floated potential offers. There’s some internal optimism that Machado would re-sign. Nothing close; Orioles almost certainly won’t make a move before July.— The Good Phight (@TheGoodPhight) June 21, 2018
Conversations have reportedly centered around two injured young players thought to be cornerstones of the franchise, their No. 1 prospect Sixto Sanchez and Crawford.
There is indeed, apparently, growing pessimism that Harper will leave Washington and sign with another team after this seasonhttps://t.co/kFQO0yaMJQ— The Good Phight (@TheGoodPhight) June 21, 2018
It would be very surprising if Machado decided to eschew free agency and agree to a contract extension with whatever team trades for him, but were he to do that, and if the team believes Bryce Harper is likely to re-sign with Washington, the Phillies might be wise to include Sanchez in a package ahead of an insane free agent feeding frenzy for Machado this fall.