Surprise knee surgery for Phillies outfielder will test depth, might change team's plans

Phillies Brandon Marsh had unexpected knee surgery on Friday and hopes to be ready for Opening Day. But what if he isn't?
Championship Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Seven
Championship Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Seven / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

The Philadelphia Phillies have announced that Brandon Marsh has undergone knee surgery. With spring training set to begin next week, the Phillies will have their outfield roster depth challenged to begin the season.

The 24-year-old will be sidelined for three to four weeks, according to the team's statement. This timeline would have Marsh optimistically making his spring training debut in mid-March. The procedure, a left-knee arthroscopic debridement surgery, is the latest in a series of injuries for Marsh.

Since coming to the Phillies, Marsh has dealt with a sprained ankle, shoulder inflammation, and a bruised left knee, which sent him to the 10-day IL last August.

Per The Philadelphia Inquirer's Scott Lauber, Marsh felt the problem a few days ago while working out. While the origins of the injury are known to be recent, Dave Dombrowski made no references to Marsh having a knee problem during a recent appearance on SportsRadio 94WIP.

How will Marsh's injury effect the Phillies' outfield situation?

The loss of Brandon Marsh for any significant time poses challenges to an outfield lacking in major league-ready depth, especially since the team recently designated Símon Muzziotti for assignment. Unless the Phillies are compelled to make a move for any of the available free agent outfielders remaining on the market, a less-than-desirable platoon of Kyle Schwarber, Jake Cave, and Cristian Pache in left field would likely be the direction the Phillies would take if Marsh has any setbacks in his recovery.

With questions of how Johan Rojas' bat will develop at the major league level, the timing of this injury will put a greater spotlight on the youngster and how his hitting has improved since his dreadful showing at the plate during the postseason, where he looked completely over-matched. Slated to be the everyday center fielder to begin the year, a lot is riding on Rojas having a solid spring training at the plate.

Could the injury to Brandon Marsh be the tipping point for the Phillies to make a late play for a free agent outfielder? That's now become a strong possibility.