Once again, the Phillies are rumored to be interested in Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich as Miami continues their fire sale.
During the heat of the trade deadline rumor mill, the Phillies were heavily connected to the Marlins’ outfield. Specifically, they were purportedly interested in Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich back in July.
With Stanton now a Yankee and the Marlins in full fire sale mode, Yelich requested a trade to get off the obviously-tanking Marlins. The new ownership group spearheaded by Derek Jeter has shown that they are more interested in cutting payroll than trying to win this year, so Yelich wants out.
Enter Philadelphia. According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, the Phils are among one of several teams that have asked about acquiring Yelich:
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Acquiring Yelich would certainly make Philadelphia a better team. He was worth 4.5 wins above replacement in 2014, 2016, and 2017 according to Fangraphs. Since 2014, Yelich has the ninth-most fWAR among all outfielders. In 2017, Yelich had a .282/.369/.439 line with 18 home runs, 81 runs batted in, 16 stolen bases, an 11.5 percent walk rate, and a 19.7 percent strikeout rate.
To trade for Yelich, it would certainly put a dent in Philadelphia’s prospect pool. While Sixto Sanchez and Scott Kingery probably won’t be moved, guys like Adonis Medina, Jhailyn Ortiz, or JoJo Romero could very well be on the move.
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They could also swap one of their major-league outfielders. After signing Carlos Santana and moving Rhys Hoskins from first base to left field, there is one extra piece in the puzzle. They somehow have to balance having Odubel Herrera, Aaron Altherr, and Nick Williams pushing for at-bats alongside Hoskins. If the Phils do wind up bringing in Yelich, trading at least one of their outfielders will likely be part of the deal.
Even then, Yelich would likely have to play right field if he comes to Philadelphia, a position he has never played in the majors.
He played center field all of 2017, but he was a below-average fielder by both UZR/150 and defensive runs saved. Left field is Yelich’s best position, but it seems unlikely the team would try Hoskins in right.
Yelich could be a worthwhile acquisition depending on the price, and the Marlins haven’t exactly been high sellers since Jeter’s group took over. He could certainly help the team win more games in 2018.