Phillies Mailbag: Santana, Outfield, Relief
We are back once again with the 97.3 ESPN Phillies mailbag. Send your questions to the 97.3 ESPN text board at 609-403-0973 or send them to @FrankKlose on Twitter. Each week on Tuesday afternoon we answer your questions on the air during the Sports Bash with Mike Gill.
Why is Carlos Santana playing so much third base? Are the Phillies considering moving him there?
This is a very interesting question. A few weeks ago I thought that the Phillies, still in it, might consider giving Carlos Santana some starts at third base, just to try to boost the offense. At the time, Maikel Franco was a little banged up (and remains so) and Justin Bour was getting very little action. Rhys Hoskins could then stay in left field.
Of course, that might be one of the weakest possible defensive arrangements on a defensively-deficient team.
But even as the Phillies were-for all intents and purposes- "out of it", Santana continued to play first base. Sometimes, even Hoskins would be playing first base. The move seemed to look ahead to the future. There are two big questions this asks: 1) Are they considering making Hoskins the first baseman again, and, 2) Might they actually consider Santana as an option at third base?
I think the Phillies realize they need a better outfield defensive alignment than what they have.
The Phillies may feel forced to move Hoskins to first base, which would in turn bump Santana. But the Phillies should not sell Santana short or even give them away. They may even be trying to build value by showing that Santana is serviceable at third base in a pinch.
But he is probably nothing more than a temporary fill-in. While Santana has a good arm and good hands, his range is a little weak. He has made some nice plays so far, but has not shown that he should be a third baseman. Maybe a potential trade partner likes that Santana can slot in there once in a while.
But the fans' hate of Santana is very much overblown. Santana just walked for the 100th time, something no Phillies player has done in 10 years. While his batting average is low, he provides power and drives in runs. Even his outs are hard-hit. The bad April (.149 average) is why his current average is low. He is batting over .300 with an on base percentage of over .400 in September.
If the Phillies look to trade Santana, they will find a taker. They may need to eat a little bit of salary to bring more value in return, but some teams would love to have Santana. A lot will depend on who they add.
Who of all these outfielders will actually be with the Phillies next year? Will Odubel Herrera lose his job to Roman Quinn?
The Phillies have had had a ton of outfielders in use as of late. With the return of Aaron Altherr and Roman Quinn's promotion, the Phillies are trying to find time for everyone. Hoskins is still in left field most of the time and Nick Williams and Odubel Herrera need time; Jose Bautista is also getting some starts in right field.
A lot of who is back on the Phillies depends upon who they are able to acquire. Certainly if they land a Bryce Harper, the outfield picture changes dramatically. But Quinn has shown he has a good amount of talent. But the latest injury - this time a broken toe - could give the Phillies enough doubt that he can hang in there long-term.
Altherr and Williams might be better as outfielders four and five on a good team. Herrera has not had a good season defensively, and recent days suggest that the Phillies find Quinn to be the superior outfielder. As we previously said, the defense of Hoskins is a worry.
So to answer your question: I am not even sure the Phillies are sure right now. Williams stepped up the most of the young outfielders, and Quinn's injury kept him from an even more extended look.
I think the Phillies will try to find a massive upgrade (Harper or otherwise) and try to figure out the rest later. Should someone like Herrera help them land a starter, that can clear the path for Quinn, but if that's the case, I would think they need to see Altherr as a solid option in center field. We should see what the Phillies do with Altherr the last weeks.
He's on the roster now, but I do not think Dylan Cozens is with the Phillies past the first week of December.
Who would you keep of the Phillies bullpen?
I think the Phillies bullpen is actually somewhat of a strength right now. The Phillies are getting solid performance from both veterans in Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek. Behind them, Victor Arano has been impressive, minus a tough outing or two. Hector Neris has mostly returned to form (though a rough outing last night) and Edubray Ramos is promising.
We have not even mentioned Seranthony Dominguez just yet. After a tough rookie workload, a refreshed Dominguez could be an asset. Luis Avian is signed for next year. Austin Davis could be the type who bounces back and forth between Triple-A and the big leagues depending on injury.
I think heading out the door will be Adam Morgan, Luis Garcia and free-agent-to-be Aaron Loup, who may return tonight after a long absence. The Phillies may look to add a left-handed reliever with some experience.
I would not be shocked if they are players on the likes of Craig Kimbrel, either.
But of all positions, I think the Phillies are in good shape in the bullpen.