Three potential outfield replacements for injured Phillies star Bryce Harper
With Thanksgiving upon us, the Philadelphia Phillies are undoubtedly thankful for their improbable 2022 season that finished two wins shy of a World Series championship.
The Phillies would not have advanced to their first Fall Classic since 2009 without the contributions of National League Championship Series MVP Bryce Harper. According to an announcement from the organization Wednesday evening, it appears the star slugger will be sidelined for a significant portion of the 2023 season’s first half.
Harper underwent successful “right elbow UCL reconstruction/repair with ulnar nerve transposition” on Wednesday in Los Angeles. The Phillies say they expect Harper to return as the designated hitter by the All-Star Break, and possibly return as the right fielder toward the end of the regular season.
In other words, the Phillies lineup will have a significant void. And while a combination of Rhys Hoskins, Kyle Schwarber, J.T. Realmuto, Alec Bohm, and others will see time in the lineup as the designated hitter, the spot will likely more times than not be given to Nick Castellanos.
Castellanos serving as the designated hitter until Harper’s return translates into the Phillies needing a right fielder. Other than Matt Vierling as an option, here are three bats that President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski could pursue this offseason:
1. Joey Gallo
The Phillies seem to be in at least one rumor involving Joey Gallo every season. The eight-year veteran is coming off of a disappointing season in which he slashed just .160/.280/.357 with 19 home runs and 47 RBI in126 combined games with the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Now a free agent, Gallo is likely looking for an opportunity to bounce back and sign a one-year, prove-it deal — with the hopes of cashing in next offseason.
Gallo’s best seasons came in 2017 and 2018, when he slugged a combined 81 home runs. Perhaps the friendly confines of Citizens Bank Park can help the power hitter “turn back the clock” to those impressive seasons.