Last offseason the Phillies were looking for a steady, high on-base bat who could hit from the left side and pair with right-handed Rhys Hoskins. They found that bat in a creative way, adding first baseman Carlos Santana, and letting Hoskins return to left field, a position he briefly played upon entering the big leagues. But a full year of Hoskins in left field has shown that it might be prudent to return Hoskins to first base.
That leaves the Phillies needing to come up with a solution. One last season was to allow Santana to play some third base. At first it happened in a pinch, but the Phillies used that to allow playing time for some of their outfielders, moving Hoskins to first base. But Santana is not a long-term solution at third base as much as Hoskins is not a long-term solution in the outfield.
According to Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic, the Phillies are aggressive in achieving a solution to that problem:
*A rival executive says the Philadelphia Phillies are “shopping the hell” out of first baseman Carlos Santana, with the idea of returning left fielder Rhys Hoskins to first.
I have suggested before that the Seattle Mariners could be a fit.
Santana struggled in the months of April and July, but the rest of the season he was what the Phillies bargained for when they signed him to a three-year, $60 million deal. There were other suitors for Santana last year who could still be interested. The Phillies can afford to pay down any amount owed to Santana.
Some reports earlier suggested the Phillies were afraid of "admitting a mistake" by trading Santana. But at the end of the day, the Phillies must win, even if it means that the Hoskins move did not work out. Hoskins graded well enough in left field his first year, but as Rosenthal notes, at negative 24 defensive runs saved, Hoskins had the worst defensive performance in left field since Adam Dunn was negative 26 in 2007.
Trading Santana would also free up space on the diamond for a potential acquisition such as outfielder Bryce Harper or infielder Manny Machado, depending on how the Phillies choose to line things up.