Phillies rumors: Aaron Altherr’s stock low, suitors abundant?
Phillies rumors could pick back up in a week or two involving Aaron Altherr.
The Phillies 2019 season could not have gotten off to a better start thanks to the additions made this offseason via free agency and trades. Philadelphia started the season 4-0 for the first time since 1915 and their lineup continues to cruise along, but that won’t stop Phillies rumors regarding roster moves.
A major issue continues to be the Phillies bench comprised mostly of young players who started or backed up last year. The myriad of veterans Philadelphia acquired to bolster the bench last season (Asdrubal Cabrera, Jose Bautista, Wilson Ramos, Justin Bour) have all departed in free agency.
Through their first four games, Philadelphia’s role players (Nick Williams, Scott Kingery, Aaron Altherr, and Andrew Knapp) were hitless in nine at-bats, all pinch-hit opportunities. Williams picked up the team’s first pinch-hit of the season in Wednesday’s loss to Washington, but the rest of the group was unsuccessful.
A boost to the bench could come soon as Roman Quinn works back from an oblique injury suffered in spring training. While chock full of talent, Quinn has never been healthy in his career. While it’s hard to rely on him, the Gabe Kapler loves the energy he brings with electric speed and defense.
Once Quinn is healthy the Phillies will have to make a decision as to where he plays. Dylan Cozens is the only noteworthy player on the IronPigs roster, so there’s a chance Quinn starts the year back in Triple-A.
However, if the Phillies want Quinn in the big leagues, they’d either have to option Williams down to the minors or trade Altherr. Williams has played well and was a very good pinch-hitter for the Phillies last year, hitting .357 in 28 at-bats as a pinch-hitter. While he does have options left, the Phillies like his bat.
Altherr has no minor league options left and would have to be traded for the Phillies to clear space for Quinn. There’s little chance Williams, Altherr, and Quinn all stick on the 25-man roster with the number of bullpen arms Kapler wants to carry and the success some of the young guys have had out there.
Jim Salisbury of NBCS Philadelphia has noted several times on his podcast that teams have called about Altherr. There’s a lot to like about the makeup of Altherr, who hit 19 home runs in 2017, but he hasn’t lived up to the tools many projected him to have.
Altherr’s career has some similarities to former Phillies outfielder John Mayberry Jr., who had similar pop and a better career batting average than Altherr.
If a rebuilding team needs an outfielder they can ride for the season or a team with injuries needs someone to fill in for a month or two, Altherr could be their guy with a cheap price tag.
The Yankees have Giancarlo Stanton, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Aaron Hicks on the injured list, and Arizona just lost Steven Souza Jr. to a devastating knee injury.
If either of those teams can work Altherr onto their 25 and 40-man rosters, he could fill in for a short-period of time or the whole season in the case of a rebuilding Arizona team who lost A.J. Pollock in free agency.
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Pittsburgh also has several outfielders on the mend, though their injuries appear to be more short-term.
I’ve thought all offseason that Cleveland would be a good landing spot for either Altherr or Williams as the Indians try to piece together a cheap outfield.
Trading Altherr would open up a 40-man roster spot, potentially for a player coming back or for a young player already in the Phillies system such as Cole Irvin.
Altherr could be had for international draft pool money as well.
Philadelphia has outfield insurance beyond Williams and Quinn with Cozens in Lehigh Valley.
They just have to be careful with Cozens having only one more minor league option left.
I think Altherr could be gone as early as the end of May, but it all depends on how quickly Quinn can return from his injury. Philadelphia will be very cautious when it comes to bringing back Quinn and they’re not in a big rush to move Altherr unless the perfect trade comes along.