Given the Phillies' lack of pinch-hitting this season, it was no surprise to see Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal mention over the weekend that they are looking for a left-handed hitter open to a bench role.
Phillies pinch-hitters have gone 13 for 85, hitting .153 with two walks and 28 strikeouts. No National League team has gotten less from its pinch-hitters. The Phillies lack a big bat off the bench who can change a game with one swing. Right now, the bench consists of Sean Rodriguez, Phil Gosselin, Andrew Knapp and whoever does not play among the Scott Kingery-Nick Williams-Maikel Franco group.
Decent options will become available for the Phillies via trade if they have not already, players who won't cost much to acquire. Let's take a look at some players who fit the left-handed description and could help:
Nationals 1B Matt Adams
Adams has been a solid hitter throughout his career and accepting of any role. He has also performed well in extensive pinch-hitting opportunities, hitting .274 with a .790 OPS and 10 home runs in 211 career pinch-hit plate appearances.
Adams' team, the Nationals, are 23-32 and 9½ games behind the Phillies in the NL East. Washington's -30 run differential is fourth-worst in the NL and paints a picture of a team that may not be able to claw its way back into the race. All of the bullpen issues that have plagued the Nats since opening day are still there.
The issue with Adams is that he's one-dimensional — he can play only first base. He's seen time in the corner outfield in the past but he's never been effective there and will soon be 31. The Phillies wouldn't use Adams in the outfield. He'd basically be the 2019 version of Justin Bour.
The Phillies, ideally, want versatility out of their bench pieces and Adams wouldn't provide that. It still shouldn't close the door on him, though, because of what he can contribute in one at-bat per game off the bench.
Nationals OF Gerardo Parra
I mentioned Parra here a few weeks ago when he was designated for assignment by the Giants because of the impact he can make offensively and defensively. He ended up signing with the Nats on May 9 and has played very well so far, hitting .314 with three doubles, two homers and nine RBI in 12 games.
Parra is still one of the game's better defensive outfielders and can play all three outfield spots in addition to first base. He's as good a hitter, if not a better one, than any member of the Phillies' bench.
Marlins INF/OF Neil Walker
Walker offers more positional versatility because he can play first base, second base, third base and both corner outfield spots. He's off to a good start this season, hitting .295/.372/.438 for a terrible Marlins team.
Walker is a switch-hitter who has always been more effective from the left side. He has a career .798 OPS as a left-handed hitter. He's also always hit well at Citizens Bank Park, posting an .881 OPS in 36 career games, his second-highest OPS anywhere he's played more than 20 times.
Reds INF/OF Derek Dietrich
This one is a longshot because of the torrid start Dietrich is off to. He homered three more times on Tuesday night, giving him 17 for the season. He's become an important player to the Reds, but he's also probably not the kind of player they'd find meaningful value for on the trade market.
If Cincy goes on a big slide before July and he becomes available, Dietrich should top the list for any team looking for bench help. Makes you wonder why so many teams let him just linger in free agency. The Marlins designated him for assignment in November, he cleared waivers fully and then waited three months before signing a minor-league deal with the Reds. Anyone could have had him. And it's not as if this is the first year Dietrich has been a productive hitter. From 2015-18, his OPS was 14 percent better than the league average.
Marlins OF Curtis Granderson
Granderson's offensive profile fits what the Phillies like: He sees pitches, takes his walks, hits for power but will strike out a lot. This season, he's hit just .182 with six homers, 18 walks and 46 strikeouts, and has astonishingly been worse against righties than he has against lefties.
He'd probably be more of a fall-back option among this group, but it is worth mentioning that in 2017 and 2018, Granderson hit .349 in 53 plate appearances as a pinch-hitter with two homers, two doubles and an on-base percentage of nearly .500.
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