With the August 1st trade deadline just weeks away, the Phillies are scorching hot. The team now sits in a Wild Card spot and looks to only be moving up the standings as they build their record further over .500. Despite the recent success, the team still has some glaring needs that must be addressed before the deadline, if they hope to make another serious run at a World Series title.
A large issue for the club has been the defense in left field by Kyle Schwarber. While Schwarber is able to provide power offensively, he is one of the worst defensive left fielders in the sport. His Outs Above Average and outfielder jump are both in the first percentile in the league, meaning he is statistically one of the worst defenders in baseball.
Phillies fans will no longer have to see Schwarber's outfield struggles in the near future. With Bryce Harper's return to the defensive field on the horizon, this opens up the designated hitter position for Schwarber. Harper is expected to pick up duties at first base.
Here are some external options for the left field position once Schwarber is moved to the DH position.
Thomas has had a great season for the Nationals in 2023 and could be dealt for prospects at the deadline. Washington is far out of the playoff race and will be sellers.
Thomas is batting .302 with 3.0 WAR in 88 games in 2023. He has mostly played center and right field this season, but has played left in the past. While his outs above average are not the best, he has the speed and arm strength to make up for it. He is in the 93rd percentile in sprint speed and 95th in arm strength.
Thomas would be a great player to trade for because of his age as well. He is only 27 and is under team control until the end of the 2025 season. He would make an immediate impact on the team and fill a void.
O'Neill has certainly had issues staying on the field the past few seasons, but when he is on the field he is a great defender and an effective player. He is a two time Gold Glove winner and hit 34 home runs in 2021.
O'Neill does come with some risk, but he would be a boost to the club if he were to be traded for. The Cardinals have struggled all season and are likely going to sell off some pieces before the August 1st deadline.
He is under team control until the end of the 2024 season and is only 28 years old. This would be a big win for the Phillies if they could trade for him and he returns close to his 2020-2021 form.
Bellinger is a free agent at the end of the 2023 season. With just two months of team control, it would not cost much to trade for him. The low risk, high reward trade for Bellinger could give Philadelphia more defensive flexibility and another experienced bat in the lineup.
The former MVP is hitting .298 with 2.2 WAR in 2023 for the Cubs. Bellinger's defense is what the Phillies would be trading for. While he has rarely played left in his career, he has played above average centerfield and first base, winning a gold glove in 2019.
Bellinger could come in to Philadelphia and allow manager Rob Thomson to move pieces around, playing Bellinger at first in some cases, or even putting Brandon Marsh in left. This trade would add to the roster and give them a better chance in the playoffs.
With how poor defensively Kyle Schwarber has been in left field, it's very likely Dave Dombrowski makes some type of move in order to improve the roster ahead of the August 1st trade deadline.