Per report: The Phillies are not interested in moving Nick Castellanos.
Looks like Nick Castellanos will remain a Phillie after all.
After initial reports swirled for a few days as to whether Castellanos was going to be used as a trade piece for possibly a larger deal, Buster Olney reported that the Phillies are in fact not interested in that endeavor.
While the idea was circulating and kick started the buzz around the Philadelphia media, it gave the fan base a jolt of energy to see what would be a good replacement if it were to take place.
So we know Castellanos is staying(for now at least), but what could we do with the outfield or the roster overall to make it better?
Phillies president of baseball operations, Dave Dombrowski announced on Wednesday, that he had talked with the Phillies star Bryce Harper and that they determined that he will be the starting first baseman going forward.
Seemingly putting an end to Rhys Hoskins' tenure with the Phillies.
It opens up more possibilities with at least the certainty with right field and first base locked down.
What about left field?
The Phillies had a decent defensive front in the outfield with Castellanos playing a much more sound and errorless play this year.
Marsh moved to left to give Johan Rojas, the young speedster a chance to play go get-em in center.
Defensively, great. Offensively, not so much.
Castellanos disappeared in the NLCS after a scorching Wild Card Series and NLDS. Marsh was pretty consistent throughout October while Rojas turned into a complete liability with a bat in his hands.
Dave Dombrowski also said that Rojas would have to earn his spot this coming year to prove he belongs in the major league clubhouse. So why not give him some healthy competition to go against?
Here are some options that the Phillies could look at to anchor a corner outfield position opposite Nick Castellanos either by trade or the free agent class:
1. Juan Soto (trade)
The obvious big name that comes to mind. Soto, 25, has one year left of arbitration with the San Diego Padres before free agency. The Padres and company are in a bad way with their current payroll. Their GM, A.J. Preller appears to have bit off more than he can chew after reports came out about the team taking out a loan of over $50M to cover payroll. The Padres need to offload money rather quickly and shipping Juan Soto is one of their few options to do so.
Soto will also not be a cheap trade option when it comes to assets but he is a generational talent.
If they were to commit to Soto, incomes another $300M+ contract on the books with an AAV projected around $33M.
2. Christian Yelich (trade)
Christian Yelich - 08/17/2019 pic.twitter.com/TaFZoU6wah— Random Homers (@randomhomers) November 9, 2023
This has become a recent and increasingly enticing option after reports came out the Milwaukee Brewers are open to trading virtually anyone on their roster.
Fire sale much?
Yelich, will be 32 in December and had a bounce back year this year after slipping in back to back years. Will Yelich be able to repeat what he did in 2018-19? Hard to imagine with the success he had then. Good thing is, per baseball savant, he was amongst the best in baseball in 2023 in hard-hit % and base running value. He also walks a decent amount and is still a solid line drive hitter. He has 5 years remaining on his deal with a mutual option for 2029. His current AAV sits at $22M for payroll due to $28M in total deferrals starting in 2031.
3. Mike Trout (trade)
141 Days until MLB's season starts. I was able to go to the Angels home opener this year and got to see Mike Trout live for the first time ever. And this was his first pitch... pic.twitter.com/vOchtLEs6B— Xtra (@XeterH) November 8, 2023
The time might not be any better for Mike Trout to come home. The place he's been a fan of since his childhood home in Millville, NJ. Enough of October appearances at the Linc. Time for the Phillies to go "Trout Phishing."
Trout has had his fair share of injuries over the last few seasons, but the Phillies could rotate him in left field and DH from time to time to get him off his feet. the Phillies could potentially take better care of him better than the Los Angeles Angels ever could. He's still has a ton of pop in his bat. He doesn't chase, and he still takes his 100 walks every year. Most importantly, he doesn't have to be the main focal point and be the face of the team. You can let Bryce be Bryce and just have Mike Trout do Mike Trout things. Trout has 7 years remaining on his deal and is still owed $250M. AAV currently sits at $35.5M. A more digestible figure would be possible if the the Angels could pay a portion of the salary to get the AAV down. Very possible with the overall size of the contract and trade compensation would be adjusted accordingly.
4. Anyone else (Free agency)
Unfortunately with the way free agency is shaping up, there isn't a plethora of sluggers this offseason. The pitching is even scarcer than usual, but there are still some names out there. The Phillies could look at some cheaper pieces like Jorge Soler. Soler was the savior for the Atlanta Braves and their 2021 World Series run. he's not a great defender but gives 30+ homers and a posts a solid batting average. The Phillies could also look at Cody Bellinger. Bellinger had a terrific bounce back year in 2023. Winning him NL Comeback Player of the Year. Batting .307 with a great glove. Would feel like more of an under the radar signing for the Phils so far. He can also play first base as well with his time spent rotating with the Dodgers. Something to think about.
The Phillies will look to improve the roster one way or another. I have confidence Dombrowski will fill a hole when he sees one and plug up the obvious leak in the outfield to give us the best chance to bounce back next season. And to come out of the gates strong and avoid the same rough start the Phillies have gotten out to the last two seasons now.