Phillies: 6 center fielder options for opening day
Unfortunately for the Phillies, there aren’t many center fielders expected to be available in free agency or the trade market. The three center fielders due to hit the free agent market (Adam Jones, Jarrod Dyson, and Alex Gordon) are all 34 years old or older.
There are a handful of decent corner outfielders/designated hitters potentially hitting free agency this year (J.D. Martinez, Yasiel Puig, Avisail Garcia, Corey Dickerson, Brett Gardner, Marcell Ozuna) but none of them have extensive experience in center field. Puig hasn’t played more than four games in center field since 2014, Martinez is a designated hitter, and Ozuna historically has poor range metrics in center field.
The Pirates, who fired their team president, general manager, and manager over the course of several weeks, have an $11.5 million option for Starling Marte. The 31-year-old has two Gold Gloves playing left field next to McCutchen but has since taken his place in center field.
Marte would fit the Phillies lineup perfectly coming off a .295, 23 home run, 25 stolen base, 31 double season. He was someone we highlighted at the trade deadline as the perfect trade candidate prior to the Dickerson trade, and would likely hit either towards the top of the Phillies lineup driving in Cesar Hernandez while being backed up by Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins.
The big question would be what the Pirates want for Marte, which is likely a lot. Philadelphia isn’t expected to move their top two prospects (Alec Bohm and Spencer Howard), and the rest of the farm system is bare. Pitcher Adonis Medina didn’t do the club any favors last year and former top pick Mickey Moniak struggled in the Arizona Fall League.
Hernandez could be a trade chip this offseason, but Pittsburgh doesn’t need a second baseman. Would the Pirates bite on Vince Velasquez or Nick Pivetta as a high-reward reclamation project ina a less demanding market? Philadelphia can’t dump damaged goods like Velasquez and Moniak on Pittsburgh and hope to get an All-Star in return. It’ll be tough to find a deal that works for both sides, but if the Phillies can get it done without moving Bohm or Howard, Marte is the perfect fit.