Priority #1: The Philadelphia Phillies Need to Fill this Devastating Hole at the MLB Trade Deadline

Philadelphia Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins celebrates as he runs the bases on a two-run home run off Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Duane Underwood Jr. during the 10th inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 29, 2022. The Phillies won 4-2. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

To put it simply: the Philadelphia Phillies need a first baseman. Following the devastating loss of Rhys Hoskins prior to the start of the season, it’s been a veritable game of Jenga opposite the hot corner.

For the first time since he became a staple in Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies will watch Hoskins hit the market as an unrestricted free agent this offseason. The Philadelphia front office will need to decide if Hoskins, coming off an ACL tear, will be worth around $15MM/year (or more) in a weak free-agent class that will include names like Joey Gallo, Brandon Belt & C.J. Cron.

Philadelphia Phillies First Baseman Rhys Hoskins suffers an ACL injury while fielding a ground ball from Detroit Tigers' Austin Meadows during the second inning of a spring training baseball game Thursday, March 23, 2023, in Clearwater, Fla. Hoskins had to be carted off the field. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
A trainer checks on Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins after he was injured fielding a ground ball by Detroit Tigers’ Austin Meadows during the second inning of a spring training baseball game Thursday, March 23, 2023, in Clearwater, Fla. Hoskins had to be carted off the field. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Despite the malignance of an injury to this degree, Hoskins remains the biggest name on the FA board & a bidding war may ensue. Regardless, that’s a problem for another day because the Phillies need help now.

While you can certainly do worse than Kody Clemens, Darick Hall, and a more than comfortable Alec Bohm, the MLB Trade Deadline is here for a reason. It’s time to upgrade.

Three Trade Targets for the Philadelphia Phillies at First Base

Joey Meneses – Washington Nationals

SLASH: .284 BA/.328 OBP/.404 SLG; 95 hits (tied 16th in the MLB) | Contract – 1-year, $723,300

Simply put, Joey Meneses is a little too old for the Washington rebuild and a little too talented to stay.

While a 31 year old Meneses doesn’t exactly scream blockbuster, his 20 doubles in 2023 ranks right around All-Stars like Paul Goldschmidt & Vladimir Guerrero Jr. He could bring a little stability to first base with his 1.000 fielding percentage & can even swing into right field if necessary. Best of all – he’s cheap.

Potential Haul: I believe that the Phillies can probably get this done for one prospect (think the Brandon Marsh-Logan O’Hoppe swap from last season). Philly sends their nearly MLB-ready, 25th-ranked prospect Hans Crouse to Washington.

Carlos Santana – Pittsburgh Pirates

SLASH: .233/.311/.390; 9 home runs & 6 stolen bases (pacing for the most in his 14-year career) | Contract – 1-year, $6,725,000

He’s not exactly Cole Hamels, but a brief reunion with Carlos Santana would gel for the Phillies. Santana’s 1.3 WAR is his highest since 2019 & his 0.4 dWAR is the best of his career. Even considering second-half regression, we all remember that Santana finds a way to get on base.

His .311 OBP ranks higher than Clemens, Hall, and Edmundo Sosa. With Santana in town, you can slot Bohm more consistently at third base. It’s all about incremental improvements and you can do far worse than a former fan favorite.

Potential Haul: the Pirates are going to milk this but the reality remains that Santana is a 37-year-old on an expensive one-year deal. To get a deal done, the Phillies will send first baseman Darick Hall and their 10th overall prospect, OF Simon Muzziotti to Pittsburgh. I know this seems like quite the ‘Hall’ but there will be plenty of interest in Santana and someone needs to pony up. The Pirates will also throw in SP Rich Hill to finalize this geriatric blockbuster. 

Trey Mancini – Chicago Cubs

SLASH: .239/.306/.346; .851 OPS when he plays 1B | Contract – 2-year, $14MM (Player option for ’24)

Trey Mancini hasn’t had the year the Chicago Cubs hoped he would when they signed him to a two-year, $14MM deal. Following a relatively hot start, a brutal June that featured just one home run and a .180 average saw his playing time dwindle.

Still, his .709 OPS against left-handed pitching would provide a nice platoon at first with someone like Hall. Strangely enough, when Mancini plays at first base, he’s actually hitting .298 versus .149 as the Cubs DH. Something about playing the field must get his blood flowing.

While this doesn’t solve all the Phillies’ problems, Mancini is 31 years young with a player option for 2024 and could be worth a flier at the right price. And, given his performance so far in Chicago, he should be relatively inexpensive.

Potential Haul: while the Cubs certainly aren’t out of the playoff race, they don’t need Mancini. Players like Marcus Stroman or Cody Bellinger are likely to move first, but Mancini shouldn’t be off the table. I predict the Phillies send OF Jhailyn Ortiz to the Windy City in exchange for the former Oriole star.

Don’t agree with my picks? I’m on Twitter @t_orm3, do your worst.

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar