Phillies land lefty slugger for a prospect, cash
Sunday afternoon the Philadelphia Phillies and Seattle Mariners finalized a deal that will send LF/1B Jay Bruce to Philly for Class-A infield prospect Jake Scheiner and cash considerations, according to ESPN. Bruce is currently hitting .212 with 14 HR and 28 RBI. Jeff Passan first reported that the two teams were in conversations about Bruce on Saturday afternoon. Bruce is expected to join the team this week on the road.
The Phillies rank 18th in the league in production from their outfield so far this season And they feature a lineup with most of its heavy-hitters batting from the right side of the plate. The decision to add another veteran bat to the lineup will come as a relief for Phillies fans after a winless weekend series against the Dodgers in which they were outscored 18-6.
According to MLB Trade Rumors, the Mariners will also send roughly $18 MM to Philly. This will cover the majority of the money left on Bruce’s contract, which he originally signed with the Mets. Bruce is an inexpensive addition that is more than a rental, as his contract doesn’t expire until the end of the 2020 season. That means that over the next season and 3/4s the Phillies are only on the hook for roughly $3 MM for an established veteran power bat that adds to what is already a cloudy outfield picture.
The Outfield Situation
Earlier this week, outfielder Odubel Herrera was placed on administrative leave after he was arrested for domestic violence in Atlantic City. Many have been wondering what the Phillies were going to do about that situation, and this trade may clue us in to what they’re thinking in regards to Odubel’s future with the organization.
The Phillies have been trying to nail down a player to fill the space between Andrew McCutchen in left and Bryce Harper in right all season, with limited success. Recently Scott Kingery has been getting most of his playing time in center, and has been performing well at the plate. However he is not an outfielder by trade so that solution is less than ideal. Roman Quinn will likely slot in to see heavy time in center once he returns from the IL, but he is not a huge upgrade to the position, only batting .120 in 27 plate appearances over 7 games played this season.
The addition of Bruce for such a small return and financial risk is a good move for the Phillies. But with rumors circling that the Mariners might be willing to trade almost any veteran on the roster, this move makes me scratch my head a little bit.
Why not go after Dee Gordon, a center fielder by trade who is stuck playing second for the Mariners? He is an above average contact hitter and has speed to burn on the bases, something the Phillies could use more of. Gordon is currently hitting .281 with 12 stolen bases, just 5 fewer than the 17 that the entire Phillies offense has managed this season. That’s good enough for 27th in the league.
This move makes the Phillies a more dangerous team right away. No one can doubt Bruce’s power and veteran leadership off the bench, especially in a lefty-friendly ballpark like Citizen’s Bank Park. But, this move strikes me as a move that doesn’t directly address the team’s biggest issues and probably sets them up to make a few bigger trades in the weeks to come. Keep an eye on Marcus Stroman everyone. I, for one, think he would look great in red pinstripes.
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