Phillies Mailbag: Bohm, Trading Arizona, Nola’s Future
We are back once again with the 97.3 ESPN Phillies mailbag. Each week we take your your questions and talk about them on The Sports Bash with Mike Gill. Tune in Tuesday afternoons to see if your question made it to the air.
Is it time to move Alec Bohm up in the batting order?
Interestingly, it was Bryson Stott who made a move first. The former first round pick was indeed batting over .400. It probably helped that he had Trea Turner hitting behind him. In the leadoff spot, Stott still has Turner hitting behind him. That paid dividends on Monday night.
But Monday night's big star was of course Alec Bohm. Always a contact hitter, the added muscle Bohm put on this past off season seems to have helped his power. As I've regularly said, with the regular contact, power will come. Down both Bryce Harper and Darick Hall, the added boost at the top would be very helpful.
I think if Bohm hits in front of J.T. Realmuto and maybe behind Kyle Schwarber, that would function really well. Behind Realmuto would be 2023 doubles machine Nick Castellanos, Brandon Marsh, and then whoever is playing left field and whatever Bohm is not playing that day (at first base/third base).
What would it take for the Phillies to acquire Zac Gallen and Christian Walker from the Diamondbacks? That would be the perfect solution.
Well, of those two names, I only see one of them maybe being considered for a trade. I do not believe Zac Gallen can be had. Christian Walker, maybe, but only maybe. But either name - not yet, if at all.
At 6-4, the Diamondbacks are currently tied for first place in the National League West. yes, the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, and San Francisco Giants are all in the same division and annually expected to contend. The Diamondbacks are not expected to contend. But being the beginning of the season the team needs to try.
If they did not trade Gallen and Walker during the offseason, it sounds as if they are going to try to win with them this year.
That could change ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. But expect Gallen to be completely off of the table.
The Diamondbacks traded All-Star infielder Jazz Chisholm to acquire Gallen. That's a big price, as you may have noticed by his play with the Miami Marlins in recent seasons. I think they will hold on to him, as it will not be until 2026 that he is a free agent.
Walker they might consider. 2019 was Walker's breakout year in the league, after being below average to average most of his young career and had a strong 2022 in terms of power. Walker is currently batting just .195 as part of a slow start.
He might not be premium-level in terms of cost, so the Diamondbacks might try to trade him at the deadline selling not just this year but next year's control.
Meanwhile, the Phillies are mixing and matching just fine. So far Alec Bohm has been fine at third base or first base and Edmundo Sosa had been good at third base when he's played there. So they might be holding their own just fine for now until Bryce Harper assumes the designated hitter role or even when Darick Hall returns.
Matt Strahm, meanwhile has been really good in his first two starts in the rotation vacancy. They may even have some extra depth upon the return of Ranger Suárez.
Should we be worried about Aaron Nola not signing an extension?
I am not sure that "worried" is the right word. Yes, it's true that Aaron Nola and the Phillies acknowledged that they were suspending negotiations during the season and hoped to resume them later. This included reminders that J.T. Realmuto hit free agency and still returned to the Phillies. But to me, there's one lingering question.
What is it exactly that Nola's camp is looking for?
The natural contract comparison is Carlos Rodon's six-year, $162 million deal. I think a deal that looks like that, even if the Phillies took the $27 million a year and make it $30 million a year, should be enough in terms of providing value.
I think if it's money, the Phillies won't be afraid to outspend others. To me, the holdup could be the number of years.
Should Nola sign for six seasons, that would be for his age 31 through 36 seasons. Beyond that? I might be nervous. It's true the New York Mets have invested in two starting pitchers that are older then 37 . But we are seeing the effects of age on the baseball player's body.
I will say this: If Nola were to leave the Phillies, I would expect the Phillies to spend their way out of it. Might that mean a trade for a well-paid starter another team cannot afford? You'd like to see the Phillies keep their prospects, but maybe it's necessary. Could they sign someone else? (Hey, it's a dream for fans of all 30 teams but Shohei Ohtani will be a free agent).
I would expect the Phillies to do something if they lose Nola. But keeping him only costs money, so that remains the ideal situation.