SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Phillies have had great success over the past two seasons, reaching the World Series in 2022 and the NL Championship Series last October.
But as Philadelphia begins its offseason plans to become the last team in 2024, a key cog in the lineup could be in motion.
According to a source, the Phillies are open to the idea of trading Nick Castellanos, whose streaky ways and disappointing performance in the NLCS could turn the season around.
Jorge Soler and Teoscar Hernandez are among the right field options on the free agent market, so the Phillies could take $20 million a year for Castellanos to sign a replacement. Other players, such as Boston’s Alex Verdugo, could also be available via trade.
Although president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Wednesday that the plan is to keep Bryce Harper as the full-time starter, the Phillies could move him to right field and re-sign free agent first baseman Rhys Hoskins. He missed the entire 2023 season after suffering a torn ACL during spring training.
Castellanos’ numbers were solid throughout the 2023 season as he hit 29 home runs with 106 RBI and a .788 OPS in 157 games. He posted strong numbers in April (.878 OPS), June (.954 OPS) and August (.860 OPS), but slumped in May (.695 OPS) and July (.497 OPS), then had a .570 OPS. From August 13 to September 8, he batted over sixth for the remainder of the regular season, prompting manager Rob Thomson to drop him to eighth in the lineup.
Castellanos was a matter of free swinging roads; He ranks in the bottom 2% of the league in slugging percentage, bottom 5% in whiff percentage and bottom 12% in walk rate. He finished the NLCS hitless in his last 23 at-bats, striking out 11 times while chasing pitches over 50% of the zone.
The Brewers traded Mark Canahan for minor league pitcher Blake Holub last week, but both the Royals and Athletics say they will be in talks with Milwaukee before the deal.
Kansas City likes Canha’s .355 on-base percentage and the quality of his at-bats, as he ranks in the top 25% of the league in slugging percentage, whiff percentage and hits. Royals in AL Their .303 on-base percentage ranks 13th, so Kansas City will need to add at least one batter with on-base skills to help solve that problem.
Breslow played for the Red Sox during Cherrington’s tenure as general manager from 2012-15, winning the 2013 World Series. The two met with the Blue Jays in 2018, with Breslow sitting in the club’s system while Cherrington worked in the front office.
“I think we all thought he was going to do something important in the game after he retired,” Cherington said. “For a long time, I didn’t know what that would be; I don’t think he knew what that would be. I started working with him in Toronto, and I talked to him several times in the year or two after he finished playing, figuring out which way he wanted to go. I talked to him about going that way, still in uniform on the field. Ultimately, he chose the baseball ops/front office/player development route and did very well. I’m sure he’ll do well in Boston.”
Breslow was hired to run baseball operations in Boston last month after a five-year stint with the Cubs. His experience in Chicago helped him understand the inner workings of the baseball operations department, while his time playing in Boston gave him a good understanding of the market.
“It has all the tools you need [to succeed]Cherrington said. “He’s experienced as a player, he’s structured, he’s exceptionally bright, he’s curious, he’s thoughtful, he’s got a good process. Now he has experience putting together a program and coordinating the process with Cubes. He has a good team of people around him. These jobs are tough, but he’s got what you need to do well.