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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Michael A. Taylor (Pittsburgh Pirates)

If anyone is going to challenge Philadelphia Phillies center fielder with the glove, it's Michael A. Taylor. The 33-year-old Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder is in his 11th MLB season, and as a pending free agent on a one-year, $4 million deal, will likely be a trade chip for the Pirates this season, assuming they don't keep up their hot start.

Taylor, a former sixth-round pick of the Washington Nationals, has carved out a nice career for himself as a defensive outfielder. He has a career .240 batting average and a .683 OPS, but is off to a hot start this year, hitting .296 through 16 games. While he does carry a .322 on-base percentage early on, he's only swiped one bag.

So why wouldn't the Phillies want an established glove-first veteran patrolling center field at Citizens Bank Park? He won a Gold Glove in 2021 while with the Kansas City Royals, and Rymer even reasons that Taylor has sneaky power. He sounds like the perfect replacement for Rojas, right?

Here's the rub. Despite having an 88th-percentile barrel rate last season, Taylor had a less-than-impressive 25th-percentile average exit velocity of 88.1 mph. He did hit a ball at a career-high 114.3 mph last season, but it's not a common occurrence.

When you pair that with his 37.3 percent strikeout rate this year, it's an ugly scenario, especially when he's hitting 61.3 percent of his batted balls on the ground.

While his contact metrics are better this season, he hasn't clocked in with a sprint speed higher than 26.9 ft/s, which makes you wonder if Father Time has caught up to him and he's on the decline. The last thing this Phillies team needs is a declining 30-something veteran, even if it's just for a couple of months.

If Rojas does what the Phillies think he can do, he'll do enough at the bottom of the lineup and play Gold Glove defense in center field. Let's put the money on the youngster to figure it out at the plate, and leave the veteran Taylor in Pittsburgh.