Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Inbox: What is future of Phillies' defense?

Beat reporter Todd Zolecki answers questions from Philadelphia fans
August 20, 2018

Given the Phillies' defensive problems and the importance of not giving away outs in late-season games, do you believe the front office regrets trading Freddy Galvis? -- Daryl C., ChicagoThe Phillies are aware that their defense has been one of the worst in baseball. The traditional and non-traditional statistics tell

Given the Phillies' defensive problems and the importance of not giving away outs in late-season games, do you believe the front office regrets trading Freddy Galvis?
-- Daryl C., Chicago

The Phillies are aware that their defense has been one of the worst in baseball. The traditional and non-traditional statistics tell that story. Now, would the Phils love a Gold Glove-caliber defender like Galvis on the field? Sure. But I'm not sure they regret trading Galvis. Remember, Philadelphia entered this season with modest expectations. It hoped to see improvement in the standings, but it really wanted to give its young players an opportunity to play. The organization wanted to play them because their performances this season would influence how it attacks the offseason.
:: Submit a question to the Phillies Inbox ::
If the Phillies had kept Galvis, they would not have learned what they did about J.P. Crawford, Scott Kingery and even Maikel Franco. I think the Phils will be more comfortable throwing big money at Manny Machado this offseason as a result. Not that Philadelphia would not have pursued Machado had Galvis remained, but it does not seem like smart business to throw hundreds of millions of dollars at a player when it has two highly-regarded infielders in Crawford and Kingery in the system and has not given them an opportunity to prove themselves.
Roman Quinn has played well recently in center field and has speed on the bases. What is his future?
-- Ed G., Greensboro, N.C.

Quinn has deserved to play a little more recently, particularly because Odubel Herrera is struggling. Herrera has hit .223 with a .651 OPS since his 45-game on-base streak ended May 19. He has not played as well defensively, either. Herrera ranked ninth in baseball last season in Outs Above Average, a Statcast™ metric, but he is tied for 64th this season.
Here is the thing: it is tough to give up on Herrera, because when he is hot, he can be one of the best hitters in baseball. He can carry a team. Regardless, Quinn has a future with the Phillies, at the very least as a fourth or fifth outfielder. Perhaps he could be better than that. But first, Quinn must stay healthy. And second, he must outperform Herrera.

What are the chances that Cesar Hernandez and Herrera are traded this offseason?
-- Thomas G., Williamstown, N.J.

This is going to be a fascinating offseason for the Phillies in many ways. We know they will try to land free agents like Machado and Bryce Harper. If they are lucky enough to land at least one of them, they will have to make trades to free up a spot on the 40-man roster.
Hernandez could be moved if the Phillies sign Machado and want to move Kingery back to second base. They could move Herrera to shake up the lineup and perhaps upgrade their defense in center field if they do not like what they have seen from him this season. Really, nothing would shock me this offseason, other than Rhys Hoskins or Aaron Nola being traded. They are not going anywhere.
At the start of the season, Kapler said the Phillies will be bold. Why are the Phillies not bunting? They are not playing bold.
-- Curtis K., Lebanon, Pa.

Bunting gives away outs, and the numbers prove that giving away outs hurts your chances to score. Unless there is a pitcher at the plate, it very rarely make sense to bunt. But in a sense, you are correct: bunting is bold. But not for the right reasons.

Does Kingery really have the arm for shortstop? I thought others like Crawford had much stronger arms.
-- Melvin S., Ephrata, Pa.

Kingery has a strong enough arm for shortstop. His max-effort throws average 84.3 mph, according to Statcast™. Among shortstops with a minimum of 75 tracked throws this season, that ranks eighth best in baseball. Machado leads the pack at 85.7 mph. Notably, Galvis is third at 85.0 mph.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.