With J.P. Crawford on DL, Phillies turn to Scott Kingery at shortstop

USA Today Images

With J.P. Crawford on DL, Phillies turn to Scott Kingery at shortstop

As expected, the Phillies placed J.P. Crawford on the 10-day disabled list Sunday with a strained right forearm (see story).

Crawford had been feeling some tenderness in the forearm for a few days. He aggravated it making a throw in Saturday night's 4-1 loss to Atlanta.

An MRI Sunday morning revealed a Grade 1 pronator strain for Crawford. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said the shortstop would likely be out two weeks, but the Phillies are typically conservative with injuries so it wouldn't be surprising if it's longer.

Crawford's trip to the DL becomes an opportunity for another rookie. Scott Kingery, who turned 24 Sunday, will get significant playing time at shortstop while Crawford mends. He started at the position in Sunday's series finale against the Braves.

"I anticipate Kingery getting a lot of reps there," Kapler said Sunday morning. "It's a good opportunity to see him get a little comfortable for a little while. It doesn't mean he's not going to move around, play the outfield and continue to get reps at second and third. But I anticipate that he's going to get some significant time at shortstop."

Kingery was a shortstop in high school, an outfielder and second baseman at the University of Arizona and a second baseman on his way through the Phillies' minor-league system. He played two games at shortstop at Triple A last season and has played in seven games (starting four) at the position in the majors this season.

Kingery, who has played six different positions this season, is looking forward to the challenge of playing shortstop, though he said, "I'll still look at the lineup card every day to see if I'm playing left field or wherever." Kingery then went on to speak about what he sees as the biggest challenge of playing shortstop over his regular second base.

"You have to be more aggressive at shortstop," he said. "You have to attack the ball where at second base you can sit back and wait for the ball to come to you."

After a hot start, Kingery has tapered off recently and has just four hits in his last 23 at-bats. Overall, he is hitting .222 with two homers, 13 RBIs and a .664 OPS. He has struck out 27 times with six walks in 89 plate appearances.

Crawford has struggled at the plate and in the field early in the season. He goes to the DL hitting .188 (12 for 64) with just a .246 on-base percentage. He has made five throwing errors.

Kapler has encouraged Crawford to play with more aggressiveness. The trip to the DL could act as a reset for his season.

Jesmuel Valentin, called up Sunday from Triple A, comes to the majors for the first time after good showings in spring training the last two years. He can play infield and outfield. His ability to play shortstop earned him the call over Roman Quinn. Valentin hit .242 with a .373 on-base percentage in 18 games with Lehigh Valley this season.

The Phillies acquired Valentin from the Dodgers for pitcher Roberto Hernandez in August 2014. The Phillies also picked up reliever Victor Arano in the deal. He has been a find and had given up just one run in 12 innings this season, entering Sunday.

Phillies trade rumors: Francisco Lindor, Starling Marte, Whit Merrifield and more

Phillies trade rumors: Francisco Lindor, Starling Marte, Whit Merrifield and more

With so many boxes to check this offseason, the Phillies may have to get creative and make a trade. 

A year ago, GM Matt Klentak orchestrated a deal to acquire Jean Segura from the Mariners for Carlos Santana and J.P. Crawford. Nobody saw that move coming from a Phillies front office that moves quietly.

Why might a trade again be necessary for the Phils? There is very little of appeal in the center field market, one of the Phillies' positions of need. The top five free-agent centerfielders are Jarrod Dyson, Brett Gardner, Billy Hamilton, Cameron Maybin and Juan Lagares. Yuck. Maybe a team can convince itself Marcell Ozuna can play center but he hasn't in two years.

One potential trade target to keep in the back of your mind? Pirates centerfielder Starling Marte. The Pirates are rebuilding, will have a new GM and manager in 2020, and could get value for Marte, who has a pair of club options left on his contract in 2020 and 2021 at $24 million total. From a Phillies standpoint, it would be an offensive and defensive upgrade that likely would not cost a tippy-top prospect.

The relief market is also lackluster. Lefty Will Smith is the best name in that market. Dellin Betances is a bounce-back project after a year lost to injury. Drew Pomeranz will attract interest after finding success as a reliever in 2019. Sergio Romo is still getting outs.

But if the Phillies want an upper-tier reliever, the trade market should offer more than free agency. Back-end relievers like Raisel Iglesias and Ken Giles could be had.

The Phillies are not the only team that could make a score in a trade this winter. The Padres and White Sox, who both missed the playoffs the entire decade from 2010-19, stick out as teams ripe for deals. They have promising young cores and the need for a(nother) star. In San Diego's case, it will look to put another piece around Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Chris Paddack. In Chicago's case, the goal is to build around Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada and Dylan Cease, though one or more them may have to be sacrificed to land that big fish.

Marte, mentioned above, isn't the only intriguing potential trade candidate this winter. 

The Indians could move one or both of shortstop Francisco Lindor and former Cy Young-winner Corey Kluber

The Mookie Betts drama persists in Boston. 

What will the Cubs do with Kris Bryant?

Is this the year the Royals deal Whit Merrifield

How about pitchers like Matthew Boyd and Robbie Ray, who were not traded at the deadline?

Surely, some of these conversations are taking place now in Arizona at the GM Meetings.

Subscribe and rate At The Yard:
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Spotify / Stitcher / Art19

At the Yard podcast: Predicting where Top 12 MLB free agents will sign


At the Yard podcast: Predicting where Top 12 MLB free agents will sign

Ricky Bottalico and Corey Seidman predict where the top 12 MLB free agents will land in Monday's At the Yard podcast.

• Anthony Rendon

• Gerrit Cole

• Stephen Strasburg

• Zack Wheeler

• Madison Bumgarner

• Josh Donaldson

• Mike Moustakas

• Rick Porcello

• Cole Hamels

• Hyun-Jin Ryu

• Nick Castellanos

• Didi Gregorius

Subscribe and rate At The Yard:
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Spotify / Stitcher / Art19