3 trade options suggested to solve the Phillies’ center field problem

Do any of these suggestions make sense for the Phillies?
Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Michael A. Taylor
Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Michael A. Taylor / Reggie Hildred-USA TODAY Sports
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J.J. Bleday (Oakland Athletics)

First up, JJ Bleday.

In his third MLB season, second with the Oakland Athletics, the 26-year-old is putting up the best numbers of his young career — which isn't saying much. Bleday was a first-round pick (fourth overall) of the Miami Marlins in 2019 and their No. 2 prospect for a couple of seasons.

Despite a good start with the A's in 2023, he hasn't lived up to the prospect pedigree he once had.

The right-hander is hitting .237 with a .608 OPS through 21 games (79 plate appearances) with the A's this season. He has one home run, driven in five and has yet to steal a base. Those aren't exactly inspiring numbers.

Rymer admits that Bleday isn't necessarily an overly attractive option, an assessment that's easy to agree with. While he has a plus arm, the Phillies would be sacrificing too much in the field with Bleday's 19th-percentile fielding range. Compare that to Rojas' 93rd percentile fielding range and 96th percentile fielding run value.

Despite the better batting average and slugging percentage, Bleday doesn't walk much, with a 3.8 percent walk rate, combined with a 22.8 percent strikeout rate. Rojas, despite his early struggles, has kept his strikeouts down to an impressive 12.7 percent clip while walking at a 7.3 percent rate. He's making the most of his time on base, with five steals in six attempts.

Rojas also offers more speed on the basepaths, with this 99th percentile sprint speed of 29.9 ft/s eclipsing Bleday's 27.3 ft/s.

Bleday has had more success early in the season, and would probably jump at the chance to switch from the perennial dumpster fire that is the Athletics to a World Series contender, but it just doesn't seem like a move that makes sense for the Phillies.