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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Dylan Carlson (St. Louis Cardinals)

Dylan Carlson is Rymer's second trade candidate to replace Johan Rojas in the Philadelphia Phillies outfield, although Carlson has yet to suit up in a game this season.

After starting the year on the 10-day IL with a shoulder injury suffered in a spring training collision, the 25-year-old St. Louis Cardinal outfielder is just ramping up baseball activities, as Katie Woo of The Athletic reports. Rymer suggests that Carlson is a prime change-of-scenery candidate, and according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Cardinals put him on the trade block this past winter.

A former first-round pick by the Cardinals and a NL Rookie of the Year finalist in 2021, Carlson has had a tough time living up to the expectations created by his rookie campaign. In the two seasons since breaking onto the scene, he has hit .230 with a .680 OPS, with just 13 home runs and eight steals in 743 plate appearances.

The one-time Cardinals No. 1 prospect brings good plate discipline to the table. He posted a 10.2 percent walk rate and 19.2 percent strikeout rate in half a season of action in 2023. His career 27.8 percent chase rate is better than the league average, as is his 9.3 percent whiff rate.

But there's really no benefit for the Phillies to pursue a trade for Carlson, even if a change of scenery would do him good. Rojas is by far a superior defender. While Carlson, like Bleday, is fast with a 27.9 ft/s sprint speed, Rojas is still faster.

Carlson, perhaps, has a higher ceiling if everything clicks for him, but he's had multiple seasons to try and put it together, and it hasn't happened for him yet. Rojas is still just 76 games into his major league career. The Phillies are better off taking their chances with arguably the best outfield defender in baseball and letting the offensive chips fall where they may — at least for now.