Phillies outfield depth thinning by the day with injuries, cuts
The Phillies are running out of options in the outfield as injuries occur and players shuffle between Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley.
The Phillies made multiple moves this offseason to ensure the outfield would be productive this year, signing both Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen to play on each side of Odubel Herrera. They hoped the outfielders on the roster would be able to hold down the fort behind them, but that hasn’t been the case.
Roman Quinn began the year on the injured list with an oblique strain, missing the first three weeks of the season. He returned for a week before returning to the IL with a groin strain. Quinn’s constant injury issues have made him impossible to rely upon anymore.
Herrera hit the injured list when Quinn was activated, leaving Quinn and Nick Williams to fill in. Once Herrera returned, the team designated Aaron Altherr for assignment, ending a promising but unfulfilling career in Philadelphia.
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While Altherr had his struggles, he was one of the few outfielders on the roster who could play center field. It was one of the reasons why he was able to stick around for so long.
When Scott Kingery came back from the injured list Sunday, it was not one of the two other infielders already on the roster, but Williams who was sent to the minors instead. The team hopes Williams can get consistent playing time in Triple-A, which he could not get with a healthy starting outfield.
After this move, Philadelphia’s bench now consists of backup catcher Andrew Knapp, infielders Phil Gosselin and Sean Rodriguez, and supposed utility man Kingery.
Despite none of the three being real outfielders, all have appeared in the outfield multiple times this year.
Kingery started Tuesday night’s game in center field, the second time in three days. With Cesar Hernandez surging, Kingery has to find at-bats somewhere else. The horrendous defense of last year’s team showed us why pigeon-holing players into the positions they aren’t used to is a bad idea.
The team’s outfield depth got knocked down one peg further as Tom Housenick of the Morning Call reported that Dylan Cozens will miss the rest of the year after undergoing surgery on his foot. Now Williams is the only true outfielder besides the starting three who is still healthy.
Various injuries, demotions, and cuts have put the Phillies in a spot where Kingery is now the fourth outfielder. It’s only a matter of time before his inexperience as an outfielder burns the team in some form or fashion. Then we will be wondering how he got in that spot in the first place.