As the National League finally gives way, and the death knell for tradition tolls (yes I’m angry about it but that’s for another column) the Phillies find themselves with a new position to figure out. Designated Hitter.
Instead of letting Aaron Nola take his hacks and run the bases like our photo above, and watching Vince Velazquez jack the occasional bomb
a player will be designated to hit for them, and the pitchers will be riding the bench during hitting season this year. This gives the Phillies a lot of interesting options when it comes to picking someone to not field and carry the bat. So let’s meet the leading candidates to be the new executive bopper for the Phillies.
The Usual DH Suspect- Jay Bruce
Bruce is what you would call a professional hitter. Since joining the league in 2008 he has 1 season where he didn’t hit at least 20 home runs. He’s got big power but doesn’t walk much or hit for average. Still in the home run-heavy league and only playing in NL East and AL East stadiums Bruce has a few short porches he could exploit. One would imagine that having his bat and not having to risk him in the outfield would be an ideal fit.
Giving The Glove A Day Off- Andrew McCutchen & Adam Haseley
Haseley came on late last year after both Cutch and Bruce went down with injuries and he did well. For a kid not quite ready for the major leagues his 67 game sample seemed promising. He’s already expected to play a larger role in the outfield rotation this season and subbing in at DH from time to time is a role we can imagine for him.
McCutchen is another interesting option. Cutch is coming off an ACL tear and is getting up there in years. Taking time off will help prolong his career (as will this probably pointless 60 game season but again another column) and he showed a power surge in his brief time healthy last season.
The Rook Gets A Look- Alec Bohm
The 6’5 225 pound third baseman was going to be a late-season call up this season anyway, but with no minors and only 60 games a late season run is the whole thing. He popped 21 home runs in the minors last year (and 14 of those at AA) while slashing .305/.378/.518 with an OPS of .896 as well. He’s ready for the big leagues and as an option of Joe Girardi could find himself in the mix for seeing semi-regular MLB action. Since they have to burn his rookie year anyway why not put him to use?
The Out Of Towners- Let’s Sign A Free Agent!
Yasiel Puig is still out there. Yes he’s pretty much a walking disaster waiting to happen but there are only 60 games in the season! A hot streak from a guy like Puig could really make a difference to a team when every game matters. He’s on his last legs in the major leagues and knows he has to be on his best behavior and perform. If there was a time to take a chance why not take it now?
Would you like a safer option? Scooter Gennett has entered the chat. He can play the infield positions and in for the Reds in 2017 and 2018 he 27 and 23 home runs and hit .295 and .310 in that span. He’s also coming off an injury, a deadline deal to the Giants, and got lowballed on his contract. He’s 30 and was an All-Star in his last full season. This is another throw some money at him guy but if you want to make a play for the playoffs this year this is what you have to do.
Let Vince Swing More
After last season he’s basically shown he could be the 6th outfielder so why not get him in the cage and let him rake? It won’t happen but if there was a Phillies pitcher with this potential it’d be him.