Phillies

Corey Dickerson has been better than almost every player traded at deadline

Corey Dickerson has been better than almost every player traded at deadline

Looking back at the trade deadline six weeks out, what a lame deadline it was. Not just for the Phillies but for the league as a whole.

Sellers had sky-high prices on players with even a little bit of value — as Jim Salisbury illustrated with a head-scratching, new Phillies tidbit on this week's At the Yard podcast — and buyers were hesitant to trade prospects. The result was an underwhelming final week of July. A few big-name pitchers changed teams, but on the position player front, the only everyday guys traded were Corey Dickerson, Nicholas Castellanos, Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes.

Of that group, Dickerson and Castellanos have made by far the biggest impact. Dickerson entered Wednesday's game hitting .300 as a Phillie with more RBI (34) than games played (33) and a .386 batting average with runners in scoring position.

Castellanos entered the night hitting .335 with 14 homers and a 1.046 OPS as a Cub. He's hit just .185 with runners in scoring position with his new team but has made up for it with all the power. The Cubs are 20-17 with Castellanos in the lineup and likely would have faded in the wild-card picture without him.

Unfortunately for the Phillies, Dickerson left Wednesday's game with left foot soreness. They will sorely miss his bat if he has to miss more than a day or two.

Remember, again, that the Phillies gave up almost nothing to acquire Dickerson. They sent international bonus pool money to the Pirates and that was it. It's more than fair to criticize the Phillies' front office for not acquiring more pitching at the deadline, but the front office should also be credited for being the one that took advantage of the position the Pirates were in and pried Dickerson away for very little.

Dickerson was productive before he got to Philly but has taken his game to an even higher level here. He had hit .270 against lefties with a .708 OPS in his career before the trade. As a Phillie, he's hit .316 against lefties with three doubles and three homers. The production has been so good that his career OPS vs. lefties has risen 14 points in just over a month. It is a small sample size but not one that has involved a ton of luck. Dickerson has had high-quality at-bats against lefties, spoiling pitcher's pitches and ending them by getting the barrel to the ball. He has also fixed a weakness on up-and-in pitches.

The big-picture question, addressed here two weeks ago, is whether the Phillies can realistically re-sign Dickerson. As good as he's been here, it's not a straightforward decision because the Phillies will likely want to play Andrew McCutchen in left field next season. McCutchen will be coming off knee surgery and was better suited for the corner outfield even before tearing his ACL in San Diego in early June.

Dickerson would provide the Phillies insurance if McCutchen isn't 100 percent to begin next season and depth therafter. He would also give the Phillies the option of spot-starting McCutchen in center field on nights the Phillies want to sacrifice defense for offense. The issue is the Phillies in November or December won't have a great gauge on where McCutchen will be physically in March and April.

If the designated hitter was in the National League, this would be a no-brainer. And it does still seem like the NL will soon adopt the DH, just not within the next year or two. The Phillies may one day be able to DH a 35-year-old Bryce Harper but they won't be able to regularly DH a 30-year-old Dickerson in 2020.

Whether or not the Phillies get multiple years of Dickerson's production, his addition on July 31 moved the needle for the Phillies, unlike many of their in-season moves over the last calendar year. Put a league-average or worse hitter like Nick Williams or Sean Rodriguez in place of Dickerson in his 140 plate appearances as a Phillie and you're looking at maybe half the RBI total. Fewer runs mean fewer wins and the Phillies have needed all of them. They'd likely be a couple games worse without Dickerson.

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More on the Phillies

Philadelphia native Mike Koplove emerges as strong candidate for Phillies’ scouting director job

Philadelphia native Mike Koplove emerges as strong candidate for Phillies’ scouting director job

The Phillies have two huge job openings top fill in their baseball operations department.

Obviously, they are looking for a new manager, and that process ramped up on Monday.

The team also needs to fill the important scouting director’s role. That job opened when Johnny Almarez stepped down in September.

The search for a new scouting boss is being led by assistant general manager Bryan Minniti and it is apparently well underway.

According to multiple major league sources, the Phillies have conducted a number of recent interviews for the position. Among those to interview are in-house candidates Greg Schilz, Mike Koplove and Darrell Conner.

Outside candidates, according to sources, include David Crowson of the Miami Marlins, Sam Hughes of the Chicago Cubs, Brian Barber of the New York Yankees, Dan Ontiveros of the Kansas City Royals and Scott Meaney of the Cleveland Indians. All have high-ranking scouting positions with their organizations.

It’s possible that there are other candidates or more will emerge. But these are the names being talked about in baseball circles at the moment.

Schilz ranked No. 2 in the Phillies’ amateur scouting staff behind Almaraz. He joined the club in the fall of 2016 after 12 years with the Pittsburgh Pirates and was elevated to assistant scouting director in the fall of 2017.

Koplove is an interesting candidate. He is a Philadelphia native who pitched at Chestnut Hill Academy and the University of Delaware before spending parts of seven seasons in the majors with Arizona and Cleveland. He earned a World Series ring with the Diamondbacks in 2001.

Koplove spent six seasons on the scouting staff of the Anaheim Angels before joining his hometown team as a special assignment scout prior to the 2018 season.

Conner is a longtime Phillies scout who has risen to the role of national scouting coordinator. He was influential in identifying Cole Hamels as having first-round potential and staying on the pitcher after he broke his left arm the summer after his sophomore year.

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At the Yard podcast: Phillies' manager search could be quick

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At the Yard podcast: Phillies' manager search could be quick

Jim Salisbury and Corey Seidman discuss the Phillies' managerial search, which began in earnest Monday, on the latest At the Yard podcast.

• Phillies' busy day Monday in New York with Showalter & Girardi.

• Are inexperienced managers definitely out of the conversation?

• Why the fan preference is definitely Girardi.

• Is Phillies job better than Mets job? Better than Cubs job?

• What to make of Gabe Kapler immediately getting 2 interviews.

• Odubel Herrera's future.

• Phillies' future at 2B

• Why we might see a stop-gap third baseman in 2020.

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Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Spotify / Stitcher / Art19