Phillies signing Bryce Harper likely spells end for Nick Williams
Nick Williams’ time with the Phillies may soon come to an end now that the team has landed star free agent Bryce Harper for 13 years.
After months of speculation, rumors, and false alarms, the Phillies finally landed their top target for the offseason, signing Bryce Harper to a 13-year, $330 million contract. The team has officially signaled that they are ready to go after a championship.
An immediate effect of the signing (besides the one Harper provides on the field) is that Nick Williams may soon be out of a job. His spot in the starting lineup was already in doubt before the signing; this puts the nail in the coffin.
With Harper on board, the starting outfield will likely be him in right field, Odubel Herrera in center, and Andrew McCutchen. The team only carried four outfielders last year; Roman Quinn and Aaron Altherr may have the advantage for that spot given their ability to play center field. Williams provides more offensively, but his defense is a major detriment to the team.
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I previously wrote about the value Williams would have as a trade asset in the event he doesn’t wind up a starter. He easily offers more value than either Altherr or Quinn; Altherr was abysmal offensively last year and Quinn is consistently injured. With Harper, the team now has a surplus of outfielders they should deal from.
Williams may not be the centerpiece for a major deal, but he could be one in a trade for a mid-rotation starter. He offers enough offensive potential to be an above-average regular. Williams was one of the team’s better hitters last year after moving into the starting lineup more consistently.
If the team does decide to roll with five outfielders this year, Williams would have an easier fit onto the roster. He provided some clutch hits off the bench and would be a strong option to spell McCutchen in left. That is a big if considering the team’s glut of talented relievers and manager Gabe Kapler‘s penchant for using them.
In all likelihood, Williams’ time in Philadelphia will be coming to a close. Now that the team has Harper for more than a decade, Williams won’t really have a chance to be a starter.