Phillies: 6 center fielder options for opening day
The Phillies would be hedging themselves by going into the season with a 33-year-old outfielder coming off a major knee injury starting in center field in a year where they need to win. While Andrew McCutchen won a Gold Glove playing center in 2012 with Pittsburgh and made some spot starts there last season, he’s now the same player he was with the Pirates.
McCutchen is rehabbing from the injury and should be ready for opening day, but we won’t know what he looks like in the outfield until spring training. Philadelphia has to make major decisions before that time comes. If McCutchen wasn’t coming off the injury and was maybe a couple of years younger, the Phillies might be able to pull this off and have the flexibility to resign Corey Dickerson to play left field.
Could McCutchen handle himself in center field? Probably, but not for 140+ games and not as the number one guy going into the season. Worst comes to worst, he can fill in, but shouldn’t be the primary option.
A lot of baseball people love Roman Quinn, and new manager Joe Girardi appears to be one of them. Girardi talked about Quinn more than any individual player during his interview with 94WIP Monday afternoon.
"“I think there are players who haven’t reached their peak, so our job as an organization is to help players reach their peak. I look at a kid like Roman Quinn. Think about what a pain in the rear, you know, he would be if he was on base all the time with that type of speed. I mean, he’s going to create problems, he’s going to create matchup problems, he’s going to cause the defense to make errors because of his speed.”"
Quinn hasn’t been healthy since the Phillies drafted him in the second round of the 2011 draft. As Scott Lauber notes, Quinn has had a torn quadriceps, a torn Achilles tendon, a strained elbow, a torn ligament in his middle finger, a concussion and a broken toe over the last eight years.
Since 2017 Quinn has played 179 rehab, major and minor league games, that’s less than 60 games a season. Philadelphia can’t rely on Quinn to be their stating outfielder if he can barely play a third of the season while hitting .243 in 109 major league games.
At this point Quinn is a quality weapon off the bench who can start a Sunday day game when needed. He hasn’t been able to not only stay healthy, but contribute at the plate enough for the Phillies to trust him.