Phillies make surprise late outfield addition for Opening Day roster

Cristian Pache, newly acquired by the Philadelphia Phillies
Cristian Pache, newly acquired by the Philadelphia Phillies / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

Phillies acquire OF Cristian Pache from A's for minor-league prospect.

With less than 24 hours until the season opener, the Philadelphia Phillies made a surprise late addition to their big-league roster via trade.

The Phillies announced early Wednesday evening that they have traded right-handed pitching prospect Billy Sullivan to the Oakland A's in exchange for outfielder Cristian Pache. To make room for Pache on the 40-man roster, the Phillies placed first baseman Rhys Hoskins on the 60-day injured list with a left ACL tear.

Pache, 24, has slashed just .156/.205/.234 with 14 extra-base hits and 22 RBI spanning 115 games in his career with the Atlanta Braves (2020-21) and A's (2022). 

While the Phillies are taking a gamble on the Dominican Republic native improving his numbers at the plate, Pache immediately provides another speedy centerfield presence to complement Brandon Marsh. 

CBS3's Pat Gallen notes that Pache ranked in the 94th percentile among centerfielders in outs above average (7), as well as in the 92nd percentile in average arm strength (92.3 miles per hour). Considering the Phillies lineup already has a strong power presence with Kyle Schwarber, Trea Turner, J.T. Realmuto, and others, Pache contributing in the field is perhaps all the club needs to be even more well-rounded.

Pache hits right-handed and could platoon with the left-handed-hitting Marsh, who the Phillies acquired last season from the Los Angeles Angels for catching prospect Logan O'Hoppe.

Sullivan, 23, was drafted in the 28th round of the 2017 draft out of St. Mark's High School in Wilmington, Delaware. He went 5-1 with a 4.59 ERA and 1.686 WHIP spanning 51 innings last season at Double-A Reading.

It is not yet known which player previously projected for the Phillies' Opening Day roster will no longer make the club, although The Athletic's Matt Gelb predicts it will be fellow outfielder Dalton Guthrie — who slashed .224/.240/.367 in 20 games this spring.

Pache seems like another "work in progress" like Marsh, but he can provide immediate upside with his excellent defense. Luckily, fans will not have to wait long to see what he can bring to the team in games that matter.