Though the Philadelphia Phillies could very easily go into the 2018 season with a starting outfield of Aaron Altherr, Odubel Herrera and Nick Williams, it doesn't appear as though it's a lock they'll do that. They've been connected to free-agent 1B Carlos Santana for much of the offseason, meaning they've at least considered the idea of playing Rhys Hoskins in the outfield moving forward. As it turns out another Carlos could potentially throw a wrench into the Altherr-Herrera-Williams plan.
According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the Phillies are among a group of teams that has shown interest in free-agent outfielder Carlos Gonzalez:
Carlos Gonzalez is drawing interest from jays, orioles, astros, a’s and phillies
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 13, 2017
Gonzalez, 32, slashed .262/.339/.423 with 14 home runs and 57 RBIs in 136 games for the Colorado Rockies in 2017. The three-time All-Star was actually below replacement level in 2017, per FanGraphs, as he posted a -0.2 fWAR. Though he's won three Gold Glove Awards, defensive metrics were never especially high on Gonzalez either, as he posted a -7.5 dWAR in 2017, the fourth consecutive season that he fell below replacement level as a fielder.
After a down season, Gonzalez doesn't have a qualifying offer attached to his free-agency, so any team could sign him without having to surrender draft compensation. Spotrac projects that Gonzalez will make $12 million annually in his next contract, and MLB Trade Rumors agrees, predicting he will sign a one-year/$12 million deal this offseason.
With tremendous outfield depth in their minor league system, Gonzalez would only be a short-term signing, if things progressed that far with the Phillies. The club does need a fourth outfielder, and Gonzalez could open the season as a starter, with the Phillies hoping he has a bounce-back year that allows him to build up trade value. This would push Aaron Altherr and Nick Williams into a platoon – at least until they either outperformed Gonzalez or he was traded – likely in left field.
While the Phillies are in need of a fourth outfielder that's capable of starting at times, they probably don't need one like Gonzalez, who would likely be a starter on Opening Day. Instead, a free-agent like Jon Jay – who is capable of starting if need be, but also has thrived as a bench piece in his career – might be a better fit. He is capable of playing all three outfield positions, and also would allow the Phillies a better chance to evaluate Williams and Altherr.
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