Phillies Mailbag: Wheeler’s Outing, Shortstop Class, Hoskins
We are back with a final 2022 Phillies mailbag. The Phillies fell to the Houston Astros in the World Series. So we turn to the offseason for this Tuesday afternoon's mailbag.
Why not leave Zack Wheeler in?
This was one of the big questions of game six of the World Series. Zack Wheeler let a couple batters on and instead of letting him go after the scary Yordan Alvarez, a lefty, Wheeler was pulled for left-handed Jose Alvarado. While I would not have done it myself, here's why it happened.
That matchup worked for much of the World Series so far. Alvarez had largely been kept quiet, thanks to the Phillies targeting him. Of course, the outcome the Phillies were trying to avoid ended up being what happened: A three-run home run from the most dangerous lefty bat in the American League.
Wheeler is known for getting double-plays with ground balls. The second hit almost did just that; if the infield alignment was normal he would have gotten the double play. But, the real issue is that the Phillies bats were doing absolutely nothing.
As it turned out, the Phillies would not score again. In the final three games, the Phillies mustered two solo home runs by Kyle Schwarber and an RBI single from Jean Segura. That's it. That wouldn't get it done.
Again, I would have done it differently personally, but I do not think that this affected the final outcome of the game. The Phillies had simply run out of gas. But what a ride.
Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, Dansby Swanson - which would you prefer the #Phillies pursue most aggressively and why?
"Stott to 2B" was trending on Twitter on Monday evening. Yes, Bryson Stott is more than capable of playing a solid second base, with Jean Segura now a free agent. The incredible shortstop free agent class looming is more than likely to pique the interests of Phillies fans. But there is one name that is the clear leader to me: Trea Turner.
We know that the Phillies have $30 million coming off off the books up the middle infield as that is the combined salaries of Segura and Didi Gregorius would cover all (or at the very least most) of the money Turner would command.
I think that looking from Turner's point of view, Philadelphia would be an attractive landing spot. He is used to playing in the East Coast, having spent most of his career with the Washington Nationals. There, he won a World Series with Kevin Long as his hitting coach. He played with Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber.
And, the Phillies played in the World Series this year. If he wants to win? That goes a long way.
So the Phillies have the money and the infrastructure in place to land him if they really want to.
I think he is the best fit because he'd be the perfect right-handed bat batting second. I never liked Rhys Hoskins in that spot. Maybe it was for lack of better options (though I thought Segura was just fine there). Turner is the perfect blend of speed, power, defense, and OPS... I would go after Turner as hard as possible.
The New York Mets are reportedly interested, which would mean a move to second base for him. But the Mets do not have an unlimited budget (though it seems they might). So I think the Phillies have a shot.
What are your thoughts about moving on from Rhys Hoskins?
There is a case to be made in which Rhys Hoskins does not return to the Phillies next year. For me, it's not simply a matter of "getting rid" of Hoskins. The Phillies do not need to do that. But I do think there are a number of circumstances in which the Phillies might want to see if there is a trade match - but only if the return is right.
The Phillies won in 2022 ultimately despite their defense. I think the Phillies will need to prioritize upgrading their defense. It would have been better had Bryce Harper been in right field and the Phillies had the designated hitter spot to hide a tough glove. But even if (and especially if) Harper undergoes surgery on his elbow and misses time, he will return as a designated hitter.
Had the Phillies had an open designated hitter spot to give him I might think differently.
But the reality is the Phillies have Alec Bohm, Kyle Schwarber, and Nick Castellanos will subpar defense. Trading for Brandon Marsh made Castellanos look much better. Bohm improved greatly. And quite frankly, the other names mentioned are not candidates to move, since their salaries are either reasonable (Bohm) or the Phillies owe them a lengthy, pricy deal (Schwarber, Castellanos).
Hoskins, meanwhile, has one year of arbitration remaining. He could make somewhere between $13 and $15 million in 2022. Can he get the Phillies a return in trade? A useable piece for 2023? Prospects to develop in the system and/or be used in a trade at the deadline?
Only Dave Dombrowski and Sam Fuld will know what kind of return is out there. They should be eager to simply "move on"; it should be about value If Hoskins stayed and batted fifth or sixth it's not the worst thing in the world.