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Examining The Phillies’s Bench Options

Phillies Select Scott Kingery - MLB Trade Rumors

With just over a week until Opening Day, the bench group in Philadelphia is beginning to come into focus. As discussed by The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, the Phillies view each of backup catcher Garrett Stubbs, and utilitymen Edmundo Sosa and Josh Harrison as locks to make the roster. With Bryce Harper slated to begin the season on the injured list as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery, the Phillies have no set, everyday DH, leaving them with effectively five seats on the bench. With three locked in, two spots remain available for the Phillies to fill.

Gelb notes that the Phillies are interested in acquiring a right-handed fourth outfielder to complement the starting outfield trio of Kyle Schwarber, Brandon Marsh, and Nick Castellanos, but there are plenty of internal candidates also capable of securing one of the remaining bench jobs: utilitymen Scott Kingery, Dalton Guthrie, and Kody Clemens are joined by outfielder Jake Cave and first baseman Darick Hall in the hunt for a spot on the Philadelphia bench to open the season.

All five players have relatively secure spots in the organization headed into the season: Guthrie, Clemens, Cave, and Hall all are on the 40-man roster with minor league options remaining, while Kingery is not on the 40-man roster but is set to remain in the organization during the final year of his ill-fated six-year, $24MM extension he signed with the Phillies ahead of the 2018 season, before he had taken a big league at-bat. Without fear of losing any of these players by not dedicating an Opening Day roster spot to them, the Phillies have plenty of flexibility in making their final decisions about which players to roster.

Looking at external options, the best right-handed fourth outfield option remaining unsigned is likely Albert Almora. Almora played in 64 games for the Reds in 2022 with solid defense at each of the three outfield spots, but struggled at the plate as he slashed just .223/.282/.349 in 235 plate appearances, good for just a 71 wRC+. That seems to be about in line with what a club should expect from Almora should they sign him for this season, given his career 80 wRC+ drops to 71 when looking at his performance since the start of the 2018 season.

While the pickings are currently slim on the free agent market, it remains possible that a player squeezed off their current club’s roster could be made available either by trade or by opting-out of their current minor-league pact and returning to the free agent market. Jake…

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