10 Top free agents the Phillies need to pay or pass on

Sep 8, 2021; Oakland, California, USA; Oakland Athletics center fielder Starling Marte (2) slides after hitting a double against the Chicago White Sox during the third inning at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 8, 2021; Oakland, California, USA; Oakland Athletics center fielder Starling Marte (2) slides after hitting a double against the Chicago White Sox during the third inning at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /
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Phillies Starling Marte
Starling Marte (2) Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

5. Starling Marte CF

Aside from a brief stint with the Oakland A’s this season, Starling Marte is a National League lifer, and one of the only real centerfielder options the Phillies should be focused on.

In addition to being a Gold Glove defender, Marte’s speed on the basepaths makes him elite and sets him apart from every free agent on the market. He led MLB with 47 stolen bases this season, matching his career-high from 2016. Whit Merrifield was the only other player to hit the 40 threshold, and no other player swiped more than 32 bags. Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto led the Phillies with 13 apiece, and none of their teammates hit double-digits.

MLBTR thinks Marte can get four years at $80M, which is more than reasonable for the Phillies. Whip out the checkbook, Dave Dombrowski. Pay.

6. Chris Taylor INF/OF

In terms of defensive versatility, Chris Taylor would be the affordable alternative to Kris Bryant. Taylor plays center and left field, two positions currently at the top of the Phillies’ offseason shopping list, as well as shortstop, and both second and third base.

If the Phillies don’t want to spend big on a superstar shortstop, they could sign CT3 to platoon with Didi Gregorius and Bryson Stott, when he debuts. He can also play third if Alec Bohm’s struggles continue, or hit the outfield.

For the four years and $64M he’s projected to command this offseason, Taylor would be a great upgrade for the Phillies because he brings so much to the table. Pay.

7. Raisel Iglesias P

Raisel Iglesias got salary-dumped in December 2020, when the Reds sent him to the Angels to lighten their payroll. The 2021 Angels went 77-85, but Iglesias continued to be one of the best bullpen arms, leading the American League in games finished for the second full season (162 games) in a row. He closed a career-high 59 games, his fourth straight full season with 55+ games finished and tied his personal best 34 saves for the second straight full year.

The difference between Iglesias and a lot of other pitchers on the market this year is that his 2021 showing wasn’t a flash in the pan. He’s posted ERAs under 2.75 in five of his seven seasons, and is a clear upgrade from longtime Phillies closer Hector Neris, whose effectiveness this year came and went faster than flash floods. Dave Dombrowski made it clear he’s in the market for a closer, and Iglesias is likely at the top of his list, as he should be.

Iglesias won’t come cheap, but if there’s one thing Dombrowski knows how to do, it’s pick pitching. He’s the man who drafted Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello, traded for Max Scherzer, Chris Sale, and Craig Kimbrel, and signed David Price to what was the richest pitching contract in MLB history at the time. Pay.

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