As the Phillies come out of the All-Star break and the MLB Trade deadline approaching the team will be looking to fix a glaring weakness that is the lack of hitting from right-handed hitters in the outfield.
Ben Francisco has proven that he is no more than a journeyman utility outfielder with average fielding skills and sub-standard hitting ability. In 199 at bats this year Francisco has a .231 average with 6 home runs and 31 RBI.
The other Phillies right handed hitter in the outfield, John Mayberry Jr. has shown flashes that he could be a good ball player one day, however he simply is not ready for the big show yet. He is certainly not ready for a deep playoff run against pitching staffs such as the San Francisco Giants the Milwaukee Brewers or New York Yankees. Mayberry is not a young prospect anymore, at 27 years old the Phillies patients have got to be running thin waiting for him to develop.
The problem for the Phillies is finding a worthy replacement is it will not be an easy or cheap fix. Ruben Amaro Jr. has said that the Phillies are tight on cash, but with Amaro’s recent trade deadline history if a juicy deal lands on his desk don’t be surprised to see him pull the trigger on a deal.
The only names in the conversation as of now are all out of rumor and speculation. Obviously every Phillies fan would love to see the club land the talents of a B.J. Upton, Hunter Pence or Matt Kemp. All three are All-Star caliber players and would set the Phillies up to be World Series favorites for not only this year but also seasons to come.
Getting back to more realistic options, the Phillies could target talented veteran players such as Carlos Beltran, Ryan Ludwick or Michael Cuddyer. Beltran’s skills are partially diminished and he is 34 years old however Beltran appears to be as healthy as he has been in years and adding the switch hitter to the Phils’ lineup could add some much needed power. Getting Beltran out of the monstrosity in the New York, they call Citi Field and into the hitter friendly confines of CBP Beltran’s home run numbers should improve.
Ludwick would add the least offensively of the players named however the main interest in acquiring Ludwick is that he could come in a package deal with his teammate, All-Star relief pitcher Heath Bell. This deal would seemingly solve all problems in the Phillies roster. San Diego’s asking price might be out of the Phillies range to make this deal. It would be surprising to see the Phillies try to land Ludwick with Bell.
Cuddyer could be a very legitimate and obtainable target for the Phillies. Cuddyer has a very consistent bat, hitting .296 with 13 home runs and 43 RBI. The Minnesota Twins continue to fall further out of the playoff picture in the American League and should be prime to make a move. The Phillies should have the cash and talent to lure Cuddyer out of Minnesota. Cuddyer would be of value to the Phillies in the field as well. Cuddyer not only plays outfield, but first and third base as well. With Placido Polanco having a chronically sore back and a chance the Phillies could pull away from the rest of the National League, Cuddyer could give Polanco or even Ryan Howard a day off coming down the stretch.
So that leaves the questions of who or what do the Phillies have to offer and how much are they willing to give up. If the Phillies are willing to part with Vance Worley, Roy Oswalt and/or Domonic Brown and depending on the quality of minor prospects the Phillies are willing to bargain with, they could be in contention to land a big bat that they could really use for a deep playoff run.