This offseason for the Phillies will be as consequential as the last one was, even if the team doesn’t sign a marquee free agent.
The club will almost certainly sign some free agents — particularly pitchers — but probably more midlevel types (unless they go after Gerit Cole).
The Phils also have to decide if they want to bring back Corey Dickerson, who will need a new contract. He’s been superb offensively since being acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates at the trade deadline.
I would love to have his bat in this lineup next season, but there’s a problem: Who plays center field?
I don’t think a starting outfield of Dickerson, Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen (returning after an injury) would work defensively.
This is why I’m starting to lean toward installing Adam Haseley as the everyday center fielder.
Whenever the Philies win, it seems like the rookie has contributed in some way — and it’s often because of his play in the outfield.
Haseley is not flashy by any stretch, but I can’t imagine skipper Gabe Kapler and the front office haven’t noticed his positive impact.
One recent game, he made a nice catch with the bases loaded in the first inning, likely saving three runs. If Haseley doesn’t snare that ball, the team is down 3-0 early and probably loses the game (which the Phils eventually won).
And these kinds of plays are becoming routine for him.
Offensively, Haseley has held his own, withstanding an August slump that dropped his average into the .230s. It’s difficult to bat eighth, but he’s managed to get on base and drive in some runs in that spot.
I guess my ideal scenario is that Dickerson returns to the Phillies and the National League adopts the designated hitter for 2020. That would allow plenty of at-bats for Dickerson and Haseley, with Haseley getting the bulk of playing time in center.
But whatever happens, I think Haseley at minimum deserves to be in the outfield mix for next season.
Paula Wolf works in the Opinion section at LNP. Email her at email@example.com. She also tweets at @PaulaWolfLNP.