Mark Feinsand of MLB.com offered up five somewhat outlandish potential trade scenarios, including one involving the Phillies and Jacoby Ellsbury.
The Phillies have been involved in plenty of trade scenarios this offseason, and for good reason. They are arguably the most active team this offseason, checking in on players from numerous teams. There are numerous potential trades the team could make, but some of them are a little bit out there.
Mark Feinsand of MLB.com published an article Wednesday titled “These 5 trades are just crazy enough to work,” breaking down some outside-the-box hypothetical trades, including one involving the Phillies and Yankees. Feinsand posited a hypothetical trade sending Jacoby Ellsbury and Tommy Kahnle to Philadelphia in exchange for Carlos Santana headed to New York.
The logic behind the trade was pretty straightforward; Ellsbury and Santana both are owed significant money over the next two seasons but are in a logjam at their current position. Swapping Santana for Ellsbury would allow Philadelphia to move Rhys Hoskins back to first base and put Ellsbury in his spot in left field.
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Kahnle would be involved in the trade as a sweetener for Philadelphia. He is coming off a rough year, but in the two seasons prior he had a 2.60 ERA, 2.63 fielding-independent pitching, and 1.233 WHIP. Kahnle still has three more years before he hits free agency, which helps his stock.
However, as I look more into this trade, the less and less sense it would make for Philadelphia. Ellsbury didn’t play at all in 2018 due to surgery on his hip. His numbers from 2015 to 2017 are worse than Santana’s with a .261/.331/.372 line and 89 OPS+. Ellsbury’s defense wasn’t great in 2017 either with -3 defensive runs saved and a -4.0 ultimate zone rating.
It’s hard to imagine him improving in that regard at 35 years old coming off hip surgery.
Also, Ellsbury’s contract is bigger than Santana’s. If the team does make this trade, then realizes they might have to move Ellsbury down the road, it will be even harder to move him compared to moving Santana. Plus, he takes up more room when looking at the luxury tax requirements. There are other ways to move Santana without taking on an even larger contract.
There are simply better options than Ellsbury for the left field job if the Phils are looking for an external upgrade. Bryce Harper is the obvious name (with Nick Williams moving to left field) but A.J. Pollock and Michael Brantley are also options that offer more than Ellsbury.