Phillies: Bryce Harper domino effect could last decades
A major league outfielder is traded before opening day
If the Phillies sign Harper he’ll join Andrew McCutchen as the second major league outfielder signed by Philadelphia this offseason. With McCutchen and Harper locked in the Phillies could be forced to move several of their young major league outfielders.
Odubel Herrera is a lightning rod for criticism amongst the fanbase for his inconsistent and sometimes lackadaisical play. After hitting .343 through April and .313 through May while getting on base at a historic rate, Herrera slipped into a prolonged slump.
Herrera’s batting average from June to the final game of the season was .222, horrendous considering his start and the contract he signed. Baserunning and defense were not his strong suit, though on paper he only had two caught stealings and three errors last year.
Luckily for El Torito, the Phillies haven’t shown a willingness to trade him and hope that the blunders will dissolve with age and experience. Herrera did jump from Double-A to the big leagues thanks to the Rule 5 Draft so he’s been developing as a player in Philadelphia.
The two players who should be nervous are Aaron Altherr and Nick Williams, who platooned in right field for the last two years. Altherr had a tremendous 2017 campaign but hasn’t stayed healthy to prove he’s anything more than a fourth outfielder.
Williams was once a top prospect and a key piece of the Cole Hamels trade. It’s hard to put an exact title to what kind of player he is with just 223 major league games and less than 800 at-bats under his belt. In the limited playing time, Williams is a .269 hitter with a high strikeout rate, punching out four times for every walk.
Both Altherr and Williams could be interesting trade chips for a starting pitcher if the Phillies don’t want to give Dallas Keuchel top dollar. Williams might be the most valuable considering his past merits and his limited major league experience. Originally I thought he’d be a good piece for Seattle in a James Paxton deal, but perhaps he can replace A.J. Pollock in Arizona in a deal for Robbie Ray.
If Cleveland is desperate for outfielders and wants to trade Corey Kluber, Williams could be a piece in a potential deal.