Expect the 2020 infield to look much different than 2019.
The Phillies ended the year with Rhys Hoskins, Cesar Hernandez, Jean Segura, and Maikel Franco manning the 3, 4, 6, and 5 spots on the diamond. The versatile Scott Kingery also saw time at 2B, SS, and 3B.
There have been rumblings that Rhys Hoskins could be traded for pitching this offseason. It is not likely the Phillies would sell low on him after a tough 2019 where he posted just a .819 OPS. Expect Hoskins to man first base in 2020.
Second base could go a number of directions. The Phillies let go of Cesar Hernandez, who signed with the Indians. Jean Segura is currently at the position after being bumped off short by the more athletic Didi Gregorius.
If Segura is on the team on March 26, he will only see reps at second. It is still an “if” for Segura, as his salary of $14.85 million looks all the more inflated at second compared to short (further evidenced by Hernandez securing just $6.25 million from the Indians). If the Phillies make a trade, there is a good chance Segura is included to match salaries. Scott Kingery could take over his best position.
The Phillies were high enough on Kingery’s athleticism that he was the favorite to play short going into the offseason. Segura would have moved to second after a melancholy year defensively at shortstop. Instead, Didi Gregorius fell into the Phillies’ lap on a one year deal.
Depending on what transpires in 2020, Kingery could receive consideration at short again this time next year. Although Didi is an above average fielding shortstop, the Phillies will not ignore an opportunity for a further upgrade. A pipe dream of many Phillies fans would be welcoming Francisco Lindor as the franchise shortstop. Gregorius could move to second or third where his glove could play above average, with Kingery sliding to whatever is open. A package for Lindor could include Segura (and cash to pay off a chunk of his contract), Alec Bohm, Spencer Howard, and Mickey Moniak.
The carousel continues to spin at third. The Phillies have already missed out on Mike Moustakas and Anthony Rendon, and decided against giving a few months of at bats to Maikel Franco or Travis Shaw. They do not seem to be a serious player for Josh Donaldson. The only free agents left who could command regular at bats at the position are Starlin Castro and Todd Frazier, and neither of those are overly appealing.
Scott Kingery is at third right now and could play there permanently, but is likely just keeping the seat warm for Alec Bohm. Bohm could impress in spring training and earn the Opening Day job at 23. This could force a Jean Segura trade and shift of Kingery to second. Even if Bohm does not start Opening Day, he will force Klentak to make a decision come the summer. Scott Kingery’s versatility is key, as he can move to center or second without any drop off in defense. The odd man out will be either Adam Haseley or Jean Segura.
Building a real contender
If the Phillies feel the team is only a player or two away from contending for a World Series, expect them to make a play for a star. Any trade would likely necessitate the move of Alec Bohm, Spencer Howard, or Scott Kingery. Do not expect the Phillies to move Kingery. Bohm and Howard are unproven and more likely to be dealt.
There are four available superstars that could take the Phillies to the next level.
Four franchise changing moves
Phillies acquire Nolan Arenado from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Alec Bohm, Jake Arrieta, Mickey Moniak, Adonis Medina, Rafael Marchan, and a player to be named later.
- 1. LF McCutchen 2. 1B Hoskins 3. RF Harper 4. 3B Arenado 5. SS Gregorius 6. C Realmuto 7. CF Kingery 8. 2B Segura
- Nola/Wheeler/Eflin/Pivetta and a fifth starter acquired via trade or free agency
Phillies acquire Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward from the Chicago Cubs for Alec Bohm, Jean Segura, Adam Haseley, and Zach Eflin
- 1. LF McCutchen 2. 3B Bryant 3. RF Harper 4. 1B Hoskins 5. SS Gregorius 6. C Realmuto 7. 2B Kingery 8. CF Heyward
- Nola/Wheeler/Arrieta/Pivetta and a fifth starter acquired via trade or free agency
Phillies acquire Francisco Lindor from the Cleveland Indians for Spencer Howard, Alec Bohm, Jean Segura (Phillies to pay part of contract), and Mickey Moniak
- 1. LF McCutchen 2. SS Lindor 3. RF Harper 4. 1B Hoskins 5. 2B Gregorius 6. C Realmuto 7. 3B Kingery 8. CF Haseley
Phillies acquire Mookie Betts and Nathan Eovaldi from the Boston Red Sox for Spencer Howard, Alec Bohm, and Adam Haseley
- 1. LF McCutchen 2. CF Betts 3. RF Harper 4. 1B Hoskins 5. SS Gregorius 6. C Realmuto 7. 3B Kingery 8. 2B Segura
- Nola/Wheeler/Arrieta/Eflin/Pivetta (Eovaldi to the bullpen)