Phillies: 3 Rhys Hoskins trades that need to be considered
By Matt Rappa
Rhys Hoskins to the Cleveland Indians for James Karinchak and another reliever
Former Phillies slugger Carlos Santana accounted for most of the Cleveland Indians’ plate appearances among first basemen in 2020. Playing in all 60 games, the one-time All-Star and Silver Slugger Award winner slashed only .199/.349/.350 with seven doubles, eight home runs, 30 RBI, 47 walks, and just 43 strikeouts.
To compare, Hoskins slashed a much-better .245/.384/.503, walking 29 times across his 41 games played. Hoskins had eight more walks (116) than Santana (108) across the full 2019 season.
The stat line has become a staple for both, especially in recent seasons, to make up for them not producing in other statistical categories.
If the Indians want to bring back Santana in 2021, they can follow through with their $17.5 million team option, or they could buy the 34-year-old out for $500,000.
During the uncertain financial status surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, it seems more likely that the Indians will part ways with Santana. But, if they do, the struggling Mike Freeman remains as the only other first baseman listed on their current depth chart.
In other words, the Indians could be in the market for a first baseman this offseason, and this is where the Phillies should jump in via trade to address a need of their own — the bullpen.
During the 2020 season, the Indians had nine relievers that posted an ERA less than 4.00; to compare, the Phillies had just three — Connor Brogdon (3.97), Blake Parker (3.21), and Jose Alvarez (1.42). This excludes starting pitcher Zach Eflin‘s and position player Neil Walker‘s one scoreless relief appearance each.
If the Indians were willing to part ways with at least two of these nine relievers for Hoskins, the Phillies should at least take a flier. The 25-year-old James Karinchak would be a headliner in a blockbuster trade; through 32 career appearances, he has allowed just nine earned runs, while striking out 61 batters in 32 1/3 innings.
Granted, Karinchak yielded a grand slam that ultimately lost the Indians the Wild Card series to the Yankees this postseason, but this should be considered an outlier in his young, but so far promising career.