The Phillies added a couple of nice pieces in two separate trades this past week, but questions still remain and there is still work left to do.
In shoring up their need for a centerfielder with former Minnesota Twin Ben Revere, the Phillies effectively dealt with one of the most glaring holes on the team. They also added former All Star Michael Young to the mix to play third base. Potentially, that could do it for their position player moves this offseason, though I highly doubt it.
Up next is definitely a battle tested eighth inning set up guy who could bridge the span from starter to closer. A lot of people thought the Phillies paid Jonathan Papelbon too much money last year when they signed him to a 4 year/$50 million deal, but the truth is Papelbon delivered when needed. The real trouble in the bullpen was what happened between starter and closer, so it will benefit the Phillies to nail that down with a veteran arm, someone like Mike Adams.
In the meantime, the outfield is currently constructed with Revere in center, Darin Ruf and Laynce Nix platooning in left and Domonic Brown in right. And John Mayberry Jr. is still in the mix as well, but will certainly be relegated to a bench player. While there is power potential in Brown and Ruf, whether either player could deliver on a consistent basis at the big league level is a huge mystery.
That mystery is why I believe the Phillies will continue to pursue a power hitting outfielder. The Phillies may have filled some holes thus far, and done so on the cheap, but the fact is this team still lacks power. Outside of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, both of which will enter this season with major question marks about their health, no one is a 25+ home run hitter on this team.
With right handed options like Cody Ross and the switch hitting Nick Swisher still available, the Phillies are likely to add one more piece. The question becomes at who’s expense that piece will be added? Adding a corner outfielder will significantly reduce the chance for one of the aforementioned players to play. Will it be Domonic Brown, the long time top prospect turned dud? Or will it be Darin Ruff, the long time depth player turned Home Run King at 25?
If and when the Phillies add that corner outfielder, it may very well be the end for Domonic Brown in the Phillies organization. Shuttling Brown back and forth from the minors to the bigs hurt his confidence and never allowed him the full chance to play at the major league level. When he got his chance during the second half of last year, he didn’t exactly secure his spot. I get the feeling the Phillies have seen enough. Brown’s days are numbered.
Rumors have already surfaced that the Phillies have spoken with the Chicago Cubs about Domonic Brown and Alfonso Soriano swap. The rumor that the Phillies offered Josh Hamilton a 3-year/$80 million deal have also swirled in the last 24 hours. Adding Hamilton, another left hander, would make Dom Brown even more expendable. Darin Ruf is a righty, and if he proves he can play may the be piece that the Phillies need to break up Utley, Howard and Hamilton in the lineup.
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