Free Agent Targets: Two players the Phillies should target in free agency
The Phillies made their big free agent splash by bringing back pitcher Aaron Nola, but what else will the team do to help get them over the hump?
The team still needs to look at shoring up their bullpen, adding some more depth to the bench, looking for a right-handed bat for the lineup and maybe adding another starting pitcher.
Former MLB GM Jim Bowden of The Athletic targeted one free agent for each team and found a guy who could help the Phillies in a few areas.
Utility man Whit Merrifield.
Whit Merrifield, who made his third All-Star team this year, makes a lot of sense for them. He slashed .272/.318/.382 with 27 doubles, 11 home runs and 26 stolen bases this past season for the Blue Jays. His ability to play both second base and the outfield increases his value and he fits perfectly with this Phillies team. In his career, he has led the majors in hits (twice), doubles, triples, stolen bases and even sacrifice flies. Merrifield, 34, is a leader in the clubhouse and at this point in his career, his value is most appreciated by contending teams that could use him as a 10th player.
Bowden mentions Merrifield's ability to play multiple positions, while also hitting right-handed.
Merrifield will be 35-years old in January, played left, right and second base for the Blue Jays last season. He could play some left field in a platoon with Brandon Marsh and shift over to right to give Nick Castellanos time off. He has also played some center, first, and third base.
Bowden suggests that Merrifield could be available at the price of two years for $18 million.
While Merrifield is a solid utility man, another player who is a free agent that could be a good fit for the Phillies is Lourdes Gurriel Jr. of the Diamondbacks. Gurriel can play multiple positions including left, short, second and has even played some first base.
Gurriel had arguably the best year of his career, slashing .261/.309/.463 with 35 doubles, 24 home runs and 82 RBIs. He also had a career-best 14 Defensive Runs Saved and played an integral part in the Diamondbacks winning the National League pennant.
Gurriel is a right-handed bat that could play left field with Brandon Marsh, or take over left field, moving marsh back to center full-time or in a platoon with someone like Johan Rojas. Another quality that the Phillies would like about Gurriel is his outfield defense, he is one of the better leftfielders in baseball.
Bowden suggests that Gurriel would make $42 million over three years.
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