3 Phillies players the organization has too much faith in right now

The Phillies should find more suitable options for specific roles with the club and need to clear up a vital situation in the bullpen before the start of the regular season.

Philadelphia Phillies starter Taijuan Walker
Philadelphia Phillies starter Taijuan Walker / Adam Hunger/GettyImages
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Jake Cave

Jake Cave's biggest value to the Phillies is the defensive versatility he can provide. Philadelphia played him primarily at left field (35 games, 31 starts) and first base (17 games, 14 starts) last season. Thomson played him in 11 other games, six of them starting in right field and one starting in center.

In left field, he had a .978 fielding percentage. He had a perfect percentage at first base at 1.000. Defense is overlooked, and he has value from that perspective. Still, is he worth a roster spot? There are concerns about having him on the roster, and it's worth exploring if the Phillies can find someone better than Cave.

He isn't known for his offense, as his stat line is .231/.293/.401 in 1,106 career at-bats. Cave posted a .212/.272/.348 line in 184 plate appearances last year. The utility player is not reliable offensively, and the Phillies should not depend upon him at the plate regularly.

News broke on Feb. 9 that outfielder Brandon Marsh underwent knee surgery and will be sidelined for three to four weeks. He should be ready for the Phillies Opening Day contest on March 28 against the Atlanta Braves. He can play all three outfield positions but is currently projected to see the most playing time in left, with Johan Rojas potentially starting in center and Nick Castellanos the primary right fielder.

The outfield depth is thin at the moment, especially in left. Philadelphia designated minor league outfielder Símon Muzziotti for assignment on Feb. 7, even with Marsh dealing with knee pain and swelling. Philadelphia is confident that he will be ready to go by the start of the regular season. Cristian Pache, Kyle Schwarber, and Cave are the other options to be used in left field with Marsh sidelined. Schwarber is transitioning to being the club's primary option as designated hitter and will presumably see less playing time defensively.

Cal Stevenson, currently with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, is an option as he has spent some time in the majors. He played in 23 contests with the Oakland Athletics in 2022 and six contests last year with the San Francisco Giants. However, he is also not known for his success hitting at the major league level. In 29 games and 69 at-bats, he has a career line of .145/.259/.188.

The Phillies need to find a better alternative on the free agent market or via trade to see if one of their outfielders in the minors could provide them with more depth at the position. Even if Cave is used as a depth option at first base, Philly should find someone besides third baseman Alec Bohm to back up Bryce Harper at first, who is more reliable at the plate than Cave.