The Phillies’ weekend against the Los Angeles Dodgers did not go well. They dropped the first two and won the finale, as the title says. The culmination of game three was won in walk-off fashion by Alec Bohm putting the ball in play. Max Muncy bungled the play, letting Garrett Stubbs and Roman Quinn score from third and second, respectively. The Phils fight to the end and win 4-3 in the bottom of the 10th.
The Phillies move on to Atlanta to face their divisional rivals and reigning World Series Champions. This will be the first time they have played Atlanta all season. Atlanta is similar to the Phils, who are underperforming significantly despite having great pitching and lineups to support them. The Phillies need to win that series and carry the momentum. This ball club has not been able to string together a winning streak yet, and they desperately need it.
The Phightins need to get it together. They need to be at .500, at least, by the end of this month, or the hole of mediocrity they have dug for themselves will be neverending and plummeting deeper.
What are the options?
Option 1: The Phillies could make some shifts on the field and trades to make an impact this early in the season. Garrett Stubbs has come forward as a competent backup catcher to J.T. Realmuto, but what if he shifts to the outfield?
Stubbs played multiple games for the Astros in the outfield, so he could do it again. Who would be the backup catcher? Logan O’Hoppe would be a viable candidate to promote, but is he truly ready? O’Hoppe is hitting the cover off the ball in the minors, but maybe that is where he should remain for the time being.
At the time of this article, O’Hoppe has a .304 BA, .420 OBP, 1.003 OPS, 8 HR, 23 RBIs, and 4 SB.
Too many Phillies prospects have failed to live up to expectations because they are unprepared for the big leagues. The Phils could feasibly find a free agent catcher to sign an MLB contract. Wilson Ramos is still available, but realistically he is not the answer. Unfortunately, Rafael Marchan, who would be the next man up, is on the 60-day IL, and there is no timetable for his return.
Option 2: The Phillies could package Rhys Hoskins and a couple of lower-level prospects to get more bullpen help or even an outfielder/leadoff hitter. People might question whether or not to trade Rhys Hoskins, but it makes sense.
Why keep a sub-par fielding first baseman from the ugly years of Phillies baseball? The Phillies can shift Bohm to first and start Camargo at third which would immediately upgrade the infield defensively. Hoskins will want a lot of money when he hits free agency, but it will not be necessary when J.T. can easily switch to first to finish his contract. Get value for a team-controlled first baseman now rather than later.
It is unlikely this will happen until June or the trade deadline. Additionally, the Phillies would have to be in a standings position where they could win the division for something blockbuster to happen.
Option 3: The centerfield position is a highly contested spot for the Phillies. The Phillies are utilizing Odubel Herrera and Roman Quinn to man centerfield, who are not great options. Herrera is streaky and inconsistent, and Quinn often performs like he doesn’t know how to play baseball. Initially, Mickey Moniak was the starter but injured his wrist in the last Spring Training game.
Realistically, waiting for Moniak is the right call. He already started his rehab assignment in the minors and should be back in the majors by the end of the month. Hopefully, Moniak can take charge of CF and blossom into the top prospect the Phillies need him to be.
Moniak went two for three in his first rehab game, so it is comforting to know he has not lost his touch at the plate thus far.
Option 4: The bullpen has been up and down this season. It has not been as bad as in past seasons. Nonetheless, the Phillies could use some pitching help. Corey Knebel was strong in the closing role but has since bungled multiple opportunities to shut down games.
Getting a go-to proven closer would be ideal for the Phillies. Especially when they actually lead in the 9th inning. Who is this closer? That would be Roberto Osuna. Why not go and get another former Houston Astro and saves leader who is lights out. If phans recall getting Brad Lidge for the 2008 season, this would be equivalent to that.
Osuna is currently in the Mexican League, playing for the Diablos Rojos del México to resurrect his career. He is only 27-years old and is a proven MLB closer. Osuna currently has a 1.09 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, 1 W, 4 SV, and 8 SO in 8 IP.
He is fully capable of being the Go-To Closer for the Philadelphia Phillies. Hopefully, the Phils and Dave Dombrowski are keeping an eye on him because it would be a waste not to get your hands on a young, dominant, available reliever.
It is too soon for the Phillies or Dave Dombrowski to do anything. Well, they will not really do anything for another month. Dombrowski will make the moves needed, but it will be strategic and closer to the All-Star break.
The Philadelphia Phillies are tied for second place in the NL East with Atlanta at 19-22. They are at Atlanta for four, the Mets for three, then home for three against the Giants. These next ten games are critical.
Hopefully, the Phillies can find their groove and prove they are competitive for the NL East crown. The organization has spent the money. Now, it is up to the players to do their job and make it happen.
Photo: Chris Szagola/Associated Press