Trade deadline acquisition Brandon Marsh has given the Phillies some flexibility.
The Philadelphia Phillies were eight games over .500 going into the 2022 trade deadline. Fans hoped the club would make a big splash, but the front office made smaller moves to increase the team’s chances of making a postseason run. One of the biggest question marks throughout much of last season was center field, as the Phillies were unable to find a permanent solution.
Understanding the need, the Phillies traded for center fielder Brandon Marsh from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for highly-touted catching prospect, Logan O’Hoppe. Marsh was once regarded as the Angels’ top prospect. However, in 163 games with them, he slashed .239/.299/.354 with a 35 percent strikeout rate in 2021 and a 36.2 percent strikeout rate before coming to Philadelphia in 2022.
In Marsh’s first 41 games in red pinstripes, he slashed .288/.319/.455 and lowered his strikeout rate to 29.7 percent. The strikeout rate can still be lowered, but like many of his other offensive statistics, it is trending in the right direction. The young center fielder has also proved to be a major upgrade defensively.
Marsh’s improved play since coming to Philadelphia is promising, but the fact that he is just 24 years old and under team control through the 2027 season is just as important. The centerfield market is thin and if the recent free agent signings of Brandon Nimmo and former NL MVP Cody Bellinger are any indication, it appears that the Phillies would have had to spend big for a permanent solution in center field — if they had not traded for Marsh.
If the team had to shell out a lucrative, multi-year contract to a veteran center fielder or had to give up valuable prospects in a trade, it could have changed the whole offseason outlook. If the team’s focus was center field, they may not have been able to sign Trea Turner without spending over the preferred luxury tax threshold.
Last summer’s Marsh trade gave the club the flexibility to improve in other areas this offseason and the long-haired outfielder managed to fit right in with the young core of the Phillies. Marsh also had some big plays in the postseason — including a three-run home run against the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS clincher.
Hopefully, Marsh can continue to improve and hold down center field for the foreseeable future, as the Phillies have a solid core to build around and look for continued success in 2023.