Three things the Philadelphia Phillies can do to improve their outfield for 2019

Ways the Phillies can bring a better outfield to Philadelphia in 2019
There may not have been another area more disappointing last season for the Phillies than the outfield. Production failed to meet expectations, and the core regressed from the 2017 season.

It's time for a complete overhaul in 2019, but exactly will that look?

For perspective, the last three World Series champions finished their seasons with an average team outfield WAR of 7.2 per year. Over the same time span, the Phillies' average outfield WAR is a woeful -4.2.

Here are three things that need to happen to improve the Phillies outfield for 2019:

No. 1: Get Rhys Hoskins out of left field.
The guy can hit, but he can't play left field. The experiment is over. According to Baseball Reference, he had a defensive WAR of -3.2 and surrendered 26 more runs defensively than an average left fielder. He said he feels more comfortable at first base and ideally wants to play there next season, so let him. Put him back where he feels good, and odds are he'll improve even more at the plate. To make this happen though the Phillies will have to move Carlos Santana to third and likely ship Maikel Franco elsewhere.

No. 2: Sign Bryce Harper to a contract.
This is a no-brainer, really. If the front office believes the team is close to competing, then it won't be shocking to see general manager Matt Klentak pursue Harper. He'll take the place of Nick Williams in right field, who like Hoskins, was terrible defensively last year surrendering 17 more runs in the field than an average right fielder while posting a -2.4 defensive WAR. Willaims would be a solid fourth outfielder coming off the bench.

No. 3: Roman in, Odubel out. 
Look, Herrera has value but defensively he was a liability in 2018. You could look past one poor season defensively considering his track record, but when you toss in his countless mental blunders and questionable approach at the plate you realize he may not be a long-term answer in center field. That's where Roman Quinn enters the picture, and though he won't blow you away offensively, his speed can change the complexion of a ballgame, and he's adequate with the glove.

If, and that's probably a pretty big if, but if these three things were to happen the Phillies would have Franco, Herrera, and even Williams available as trade bait. No, they won't fetch massive returns, but they could bring some building blocks back to a Philadelphia team looking to contend for the postseason.

Potential targets to replace Hoskins in left could be free agents Marwin Gonzalez or Andrew McCutchen. It's also possible the club could roll the dice with the arbitration-eligible Aaron Altherr and give him a chance to redeem himself from a terrible 2018. That's an unlikely scenario though, particularly if the club goes all in on this free agent market.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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