Phillies willing to go into 2018 with infield logjam still in place

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MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 3 : Nick Williams #5 of the Philadelphia Phillies, right, celebrates with Freddy Galvis #13 and Cesar Hernandez #16 of the Philadelphia Phillies after their 12 inning 3-1 win over the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on September 3, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Skipper/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 3 : Nick Williams #5 of the Philadelphia Phillies, right, celebrates with Freddy Galvis #13 and Cesar Hernandez #16 of the Philadelphia Phillies after their 12 inning 3-1 win over the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on September 3, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Skipper/Getty Images) /
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The Phillies infield logjam is one of the biggest concerns with the team moving forward, but GM Matt Klentak is content to stick with it moving forward.

Heading into this offseason, the Phillies needed to address two things – their starting rotation and the logjam taking place in the infield. Next year, the team could feasibly have five players vying for three positions between second base, third base, and shortstop.

The easiest way general manager Matt Klentak could approach this issue is by trading someone out of the group, most likely Cesar Hernandez and/or Freddy Galvis. He told reporters Wednesday that other teams have checked in about a potential trade for these players.

Trading Hernandez or Galvis would certainly address the logjam in the infield and perhaps even kill two birds with one stone by acquiring a starting pitcher in the process. It would also allow J.P. Crawford and eventually Scott Kingery to get consistent playing time at the major-league level next year.

However, Klentak is perfectly content if he heads into the 2018 with Hernandez, Galvis, Crawford, and Maikel Franco still on the roster. He says that it could actually benefit the team moving forward: [quote via Matt Gelb of Philly.com] 

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"“To me, that is a way to create value and create depth so we never feel like we are taking a big step back by going from your everyday guy to a utility,” Klentak said. “If you have four regulars who have enough positional flexibility and whose skill sets complement each other, then that’s a roster construction that could work.”"

Klentak mentioned positional flexibility, which has become a rising skill set in recent years. That was evident in the World Series this year as Houston’s Marwin Gonzalez started a double-digit amount of games at every infield position and left field. In addition, the Dodgers employed many players with position flexibility like Cody Bellinger, Logan Forsythe, and Chris Taylor.

Dodgers GM Farhan Zadi said that the team really strove to construct a roster with many flexible players: [quote via Gelb]

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"“We definitely have tried to create that versatility on our roster and placed a premium on it, and I think every other team views it the same way. It’s not easy to get those guys, but when you can get a player who can perform offensively and comes with defensive versatility, it really creates a lot of added layers of protection for you over the course of a long season.”"

Philadelphia’s new manager, Gabe Kapler, certainly played some part in that philosophy as he was part of the team’s minor-league development process. It’s likely he will carry it over next season.

So if the Phillies do go into next season with the infield logjam still in place, how will time be divvied up?

Crawford could be the one moved around most as he played all three of second, third, and shortstop in September. That same thing could happen again next year. Galvis has spent the last three years almost entirely at shortstop, but he could move around the diamond and spend time at second or third as well. In addition, he played two games in the outfield this year and could very well again. Hernandez has also played shortstop and third in his career, although he is probably best suited to stay at second base. Rhys Hoskins could also see more time in left field next year and Franco could move to first, although this would cut into the playing time of the team’s starting outfielders, who were some of Philadelphia’s best hitters this year.

Next: Phillies rumors: Summing up the GM meetings so far

Klentak is trying to use the idea that he could work around this logjam to help gain some leverage in trade talks. It could conceivably work, but if it doesn’t, we will have to see if this idea will actually work next season.

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