The Phillies may still be on the hunt for another veteran free agent, and Brandon Moss could be a solid fit with Philadelphia.
The Phillies have done well in securing veteran free agents that can help the team in 2017 without committing any money long-term. The acquisitions of veterans like Howie Kendrick, Pat Neshek, and Clay Buchholz all fit in this mold.
It’s possible the team could still make another move before the offseason is over. Manager Pete Mackanin noted that he would still like to improve the team’s offense, telling Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly at the winter meetings:
"“Obviously I would like to have a solid hitter for the team, for the fans, for everybody. We would like to win more games. I think it would be very important, obviously, to improve our offense. … I think we owe it to the pitchers to create more offense so that they are in more games. Everything is still up in the air. It’s early. Deals may be made in January or in spring training when things happen.”"
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One player who may fit the bill in adding some offense to the team is former St. Louis and Oakland slugger Brandon Moss. Joe Giglio of NJ.com said Moss could be an “under-the-radar fit” for the Phillies. Our own George Stockburger listed Moss as one of several left-handed bats that could be an option for the team.
Moss has hit 20 or more home runs in four of the last five seasons.
In 2016 for the Cardinals, Moss hit 28 home runs. That was the second-most home runs he’s had in one season in his career. He should be able to replace Ryan Howard’s home run production in the lineup.
Moss also offers positional flexibility. He has spent most of his career at first base, left, and right field. He could serve in several roles, including a backup corner outfielder as well as platooning at first base with Tommy Joseph. Unlike most other corner infielder/outfielders, Moss is not a liability on defense, as he has a career 4.5 UZR/150 in the outfield.
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Seeing how other sluggers like Jose Bautista and Mark Trumbo may be forced to take one-year contracts, it’s more likely than not Moss would also be open to a one-year deal. He earned $8.2 million with St. Louis in his final year of arbitration, and he was worth $11.2 million according to Fangraphs. A deal for Moss wouldn’t cost the Phillies an exorbitant amount of money, somewhere in the range of $10 million perhaps.
Even though Moss would be a solid fit in Philadelphia, there’s a reason he has already played for six different teams in his career.
Moss has not had a batting average above .240 since 2013, and he struck out in 30.4% of his at-bats in 2016. Moss was also worth just 0.8 wins above replacement according to Baseball Reference last year and has not been above one WAR since 2014. He would be looking to rebuild value in 2017, making him even more likely to opt for a one-year deal.
If Moss were to sign with the Phillies, it would not be his first stint here. He spent the 2011 season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley and hit 23 home runs with a .275/.368/.509 line before recording no hits in six plate appearances after September call-ups.