PHILADELPHIA -- The weeks leading into Spring Training tend to be relatively quiet for most teams.The Phillies are no exception, but here is one bold prediction with pitchers and catchers reporting to Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla., in exactly five weeks: They will add an everyday right fielder before
PHILADELPHIA -- The weeks leading into Spring Training tend to be relatively quiet for most teams.
The Phillies are no exception, but here is one bold prediction with pitchers and catchers reporting to Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla., in exactly five weeks: They will add an everyday right fielder before camp opens.
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Philadelphia has been in the market for a hitter for some time, but the club has been patient because it is not opposed to providing an opportunity for rookie Roman Quinn in right field. But the Phillies also know the Majors' worst offense in 2016 needs help, and Quinn cannot be counted upon to stay healthy. So they have been following free-agent outfielders Brandon Moss and Michael Saunders, and potential trade partners like the Mets, who could flip Jay Bruce.
The best bet here is the Phillies nab Moss, assuming he can be signed to a one-year contract. Moss, a 10-year veteran, can play left field, right field and first base, where he could complement Tommy Joseph. He also hits for power, so he could slide in nicely around Maikel Franco and Joseph in the middle of the lineup.
It should be repeated that free-agent outfielder Jose Bautista is not an option. First, the Blue Jays offered Bautista a qualifying offer, so the Phillies would have to forfeit a second-round Draft pick and its accompanying bonus allotment (more than $1 million) to sign him.
Second, Bautista (1.4 WAR in 2016, according to FanGraphs) is not that much of an upgrade over Moss (1.4 WAR), Saunders (1.4 WAR) and Bruce (0.9 WAR). So while FanGraphs predicts a bounce back season for Bautista (2.8 WAR), it is not worth the extra cost of the lost Draft pick, especially understanding that Bautista is not a long-term solution in right field.
But Moss, 33, would be a nice one-year fit. He hit .225 with 28 home runs, 67 RBIs and a .784 OPS in 464 plate appearances last season. He batted .270 with 25 homers, 60 RBIs and a .930 OPS through Aug. 26 before finishing in a 10-for-106 (.356 OPS) tailspin.
If the Phillies can get the Moss from April through Aug. 25, he would be a steal.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.