With 2019 just a few days away, let's take a look at the top remaining position players available in the free-agent and trade market that could fit the Phillies' needs.
This list will exclude Manny Machado and Bryce Harper because they're clearly the top two players available and their fit with the Phils has been analyzed to death.
Think of these five players as contingencies in case the Phils can't land a superstar.
C J.T. Realmuto
Realmuto would make the Phillies (and pretty much every team in baseball) better. As much as the Phils value Jorge Alfaro, Realmuto simply does it all better. The Phillies have been one of several teams to express interest this offseason in Realmuto, who is just two years older than Alfaro. It seems like the age difference should be bigger but it's not. Realmuto is set for free agency after the 2020 season, so an acquiring team would control his rights at a below-market price these next two seasons.
If the Phils miss out on both Machado and Harper, Realmuto would be the biggest difference-maker left this offseason. Do the Phillies have enough to acquire him? It will depend on which suitors remain post-Machado and Harper. The Marlins are looking for a high-quality, major-league-ready player as the centerpiece of their return. They're looking for a player better than Nick Williams, for example, and they're absolutely right to seek that.
If the right offer for Miami doesn't materialize, the Phillies could make things interesting with a package of Alfaro, Williams and a young pitcher.
OF A.J. Pollock
OF Nick Markakis
Pollock is the best all-around position player left in free agency, though there are obvious questions about his injury history. If the Phils determine this offseason that one of Odubel Herrera or Nick Williams is not the long-term answer in the outfield, it would make more sense for them to pursue an outfielder like Markakis rather than Pollock. Markakis is four years older than Pollock but could likely be had on a two-year deal, as opposed to Pollock, who is a candidate for between three years (with an option) and five years.
If Pollock lingers in free agency to the point that a one-year, prove-it deal becomes doable, the Phillies should pounce. But we're a ways away from that point.
Markakis would be an upgrade over Williams in the immediate future, but the Phillies may want to give the Herrera-Williams-Roman Quinn setup one more year before they change course.
3B Mike Moustakas
Utilityman Marwin Gonzalez
A couple veteran answers here if the Phillies decide to flip Maikel Franco for pitching and replace him with a more reliable everyday third baseman.
Despite the perception that Moustakas and Franco are comparable players, it's just not true. Moustakas has been a lot better offensively and defensively, as outlined here.
The appeal of Gonzalez is that he can play every position except catcher and center field and play those positions well defensively. He also has power (averages of 20 homers and 30 doubles the last two seasons) and the ability to hit .270-.280 with a slightly above average on-base percentage.
My thought with Gonzalez this offseason has been that he's more of a finishing piece for a contending team, but if the Phillies miss out on the stars they covet, then bringing in a Swiss Army knife like Gonzalez in addition to a starting pitcher and reliever would be a different way to add wins to the 2019 club.
We will take a look at the best remaining arms in the coming days.
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