Phillies Mailbag: Herrera, the Outfield, and What About Hamels?
We are back once again with a 97.3 ESPN Phillies mailbag. As your questions on Twitter at any time to @FrankKlose, and talk about them on the Sports Bash with Mike Gill on Tuesdays on 97.3 FM in South Jersey, on the 97.3 ESPN app, and online via our website or Twitter page.
Are the Phillies really going to go with Odubel Herrera in center field? Or are they simply trying to showcase him for a trade?
As I have contended all along: no. I still do not see a path for the Phillies to carry Odubel Herrera on their 40-man roster. I see Spring Training ending, Herrera not making the Phillies, and his agent asking for his trade or a release, and that being granted.
If it's a trade, I don't think the Phillies get anything return and they will eat his contract.
For what happened in the past, Herrera has been disciplined and there must be baseball reasons for his departure. It cannot be a second punishment. For baseball reasons, I do not see Herrera fitting on this Phillies team.
The Phillies have Bryce Harper in right field and Andrew McCutchen in left. Roman Quinn has outperformed Herrera, batting .300 and showing his speed on the base paths, as a starter and even as a pinch runner.
Adam Haseley is a first round pick and should be returning from his groin injury soon. His future is something of interest to the Phillies, and they will want him to show he can maintain a major league-level bat.
Matt Joyce has batted .500 in a part-time role, and is a seasoned bench bat in the major leagues. Joyce seems much better suited for the reserve/pinch-hit role that he will likely fill on the Phillies. Like Herrera, Joyce is left-handed. He provides a better corner outfield arm compared to Herrera.
Herrera, meanwhile, has batted just .222 this Spring. There is one year left on his deal. He is not on the 40-man roster. You'd have to justify not just keeping a player off of the active roster, but essentially cutting a prospect. The Phillies need to make room for Joyce, as well as relievers such as Brandon Kintzler and Tony Watson.
I just cannot see a path to the Phillies for Herrera.
Mickey Moniak: why not throw him into the deep end at this point? Similar to Haseley a few years ago, let the kid learn from the best OF companions in Andrew McCutchen and Bryce Harper.
I think that Mickey Moniak has a chance to make the Phillies still. In my aforementioned question, I noted that Herrera will need to bump somebody off of the 40-man roster in order to make the team. Moniak does not have that obstacle.
Should either Adam Haseley or Brad Miller start the season on the injured list and be expected to miss just a little bit of the early season, Moniak could occupy a roster spot until the player returns. Scott Kingery would be the primary infield reserve for this time being, but there is some positional flexibility on the roster that could cover the Phillies for this to happen.
I do not, however, see Moniak getting the starting job. The Triple-A season might begin in May instead of April, and by then, I think the Phillies want him playing every day to see what he has. He could be the center fielder at Triple-A to show that the Phillies could consider him for that role long-term.
But certainly, Moniak has impressed so far this Spring. The former first pick overall in the 2016 draft has taken a while to come along, but he is progressing nicely. Lest we forget: Moniak is not even 23 years old yet.
Cole Hamels is still out there unsigned. Do the Phillies have any interest?
While I think that Cole Hamels is the emotional favorite, I really do not see a path right now. The Phillies definitely felt that Matt Moore and Chase Anderson were good starting pitching options and gave them major league contracts to do it. They should be the fourth and fifth starters for the Phillies.
Where would Hamels fit? The way the two of them are pitching this Spring, there really is no clear opening.
And let us not forget: Hamels gave the Braves exactly three and one-thirds innings last year for the $18 million contract he signed (though it came down due to contracts being pro-rated). The Braves were somewhat lucky; they would not have gotten more than three and one-thirds innings if there was a full season. Hamels was injured in Spring Training and came back at the natural rhythm.
So I would consider it highly unlikely at this point that Hamels pitches for the Phillies again.
I also think it's telling he's not getting much interest around the league. There are some teams that may have been really eager for pitching, but maybe Hamels does not feel motivated enough to join a lesser team just for the sake of pitching. Supposedly "several teams" showed interest at one point, but nothing has materialized.
I think Hamels will indeed sign a new deal with the Phillies sometime soon, but it will be the one-day, "retire-as-a-Phillie" kind of contract.