Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Inbox: What are Phils' plans for middle infield?

Beat reporter Todd Zolecki answers fans' questions
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

What are the plans next season with Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis, Scott Kingery and J.P. Crawford?
-- Nathan S., Mertztown, Pa.

There are multiple possibilities, especially now that Crawford played third base for the first time Sunday with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

What are the plans next season with Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis, Scott Kingery and J.P. Crawford?
-- Nathan S., Mertztown, Pa.

There are multiple possibilities, especially now that Crawford played third base for the first time Sunday with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

The Phillies' front office views Crawford and Kingery as the future, but it would not surprise me if Galvis and Hernandez are the 2018 Opening Day middle infielders. I have written previously about Kingery's 40-man roster situation and why it makes sense to hold off promoting him until late April or early May next year. In short, it prevents him from becoming a free agent until after the 2024 season, instead of '23.

That might not seem like a big deal today, but it could be in a few years, because it guarantees the Phils will have Kingery another full season when they presumably will be postseason contenders. (The Cubs did the same thing with Kris Bryant, and Chicago fans are thrilled they did.) The same holds true for Crawford. Even if he is promoted next month, he could open the 2018 season at Triple-A and be promoted later in the spring or summer.

:: Submit a question to the Phillies Inbox ::

Of course, Philadelphia could trade Hernandez or Galvis in the offseason -- maybe getting much-needed pitching help in return -- and put Kingery or Crawford into the 2018 Opening Day lineup.

The Phillies also could trade Hernandez or Galvis and sign a veteran middle infielder to hold the fort until Kingery or Crawford is ready for a full-time promotion. That prevents the following headache: Kingery or Crawford is ready for the big leagues, but it is still too early in the season to trade Galvis or Hernandez, so everything remains in a holding pattern.

Could the Phils trade both Galvis and Hernandez in the offseason? Sure, but it would be a bit of a surprise if both are moved.

Crawford could surprise some people at third base next month, and the Phillies could have him play there next year, too. It would give them more time to figure out how they want to proceed at shortstop, with Galvis becoming a free agent following next season. (Do not undersell Galvis' Gold Glove-caliber defense. You might miss it when he's gone.) Even then, I can see Maikel Franco opening at third base. But certainly, Franco has been the team's biggest disappointment this year, with just a .666 OPS.

But remember: Most of these scenarios only come into play if Crawford and Kingery keep playing well in Triple-A.

Could the Phillies take a run at Eric Hosmer in the offseason?
-- Betsy E., Chicago

Philadelphia considers Rhys Hoskins its first baseman of the future, so it would surprise me. Unless, of course, the Phillies see enough good things from Hoskins in left field to leave him there. But that seems unlikely, only because the Phils have seen enough good things this season from Aaron Altherr, Odubel Herrera and Nick Williams to warrant longer looks in next season's outfield.

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

Philadelphia Phillies