Phillies infield options: 9 players who could get a chance to shine in the coming weeks

Phillies Whit Merrifield
Philadelphia Phillies’ Whit Merrifield slides home to score on a single by Edmundo Sosa during the second inning of a baseball game, Sunday, April 7, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Just this past Friday, the Phillies took a hit to their lineup and their infield as shortstop Trea Turner was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain after a hustle play that saw him score all the way from second base during.

The strain seems to be a significant one, as Turner indicated he expects to miss at least six weeks with his hamstring injury and any return before that “would be a win” (per Matt Gelb of The Athletic).

Phillies Trea Turner
Philadelphia Phillies’ Trea Turner scores on an RBI single by Nick Castellanos during the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Saturday, April 13, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

Philadelphia called up Kody Clemens to replace him on the 26-man roster, but it is a tall task to replace a bat as hot as Turner’s. The right-hander was off to an impressive start, slashing .343/ .392/ .460 while leading the team in both stolen bases (10) and runs (27) in the early going.

There was a scare on Saturday night as well, as third baseman Alec Bohm excited the game early due to right hip flexor tightness after falling during a swing in the second inning. Thomson did not seem worried and was almost certain he would play on Sunday:

“It was really precaution more than anything. He should be able to go tomorrow. We’ll check on him, but he should be able to go.”

Rob Thomson, Postgame (May 4)

It would be nearly impossible for any team to replace the offensive production from both Bohm (.364/ .435/ .579, team-high 32 RBIs) and Turner, but if their No. 4 hitter also went down after Saturday who could they have turned to?

Filling in at shortstop: What options do the Phillies have?

Before we look at what could have happened in a theoretical situation, let’s look at what they might do in the present. Philadelphia has a few options at shortstop already on the major league roster, and they will likely go with a mixed-bag approach for now.

Players to watch

Second baseman Bryson Stott played the majority of his games at short in his rookie season back in 2022 before moving across the bag after the signing of Turner. However, the team would want him to at least get practice reps in before moving him back.

Edmundo Sosa manned the position Saturday and Sunday. It might be tough to thrust him into a starting role, but he should see the majority of the reps in the beginning of Trea’s absence and per Paul Casella of, it could be that way the entirety of the injury.

Philadelphia Phillies’ Alec Bohm, right, is doused by teammates Brandon Marsh, left, and Bryson Stott during an interview after the team’s baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Sunday, March 31, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

Whit Merrifield has never appeared at the position in his career, and Kody Clemens has a single appearance there. Both are better suited for second base, which could be an option if Bryson end up moving over to short for the majority of the time.

This move would give the Phillies more flexibility with their lineup as Sosa and Stott are the two true options, whereas second is Merrifield’s natural position, Clemens has logged most of his time there or first base, and Stott and Sosa both play above-average defense on that side of the bag. They would trust any of the four at second.

What about 3B?

Alec Bohm played all game Sunday night, so fans can take a big sigh of relief. However, if they did end up needing someone – what options do they have left? Sure, they could take a few of the players mentioned above, make them all starters, and just pull a guy up from the minors for depth – and that’s likely what would’ve happened.

If Merrifield started everyday for a short period – would they call up someone who’s mainly an outfielder or someone with outfield flexibility? Here’s how the depth options for Philadelphia are performing thus far in 2024:

  • Weston Wilson (UTIL) – .159/ .267/ .216, 1 HR, 11 RBIs, 10 Runs, 6 SBs (AAA Lehigh Valley)
  • Rodolfo Castro (INF) – 1-for-7, 1 HR, 3 RBIs (AAA Lehigh Valley)
  • Scott Kingery (UTIL) – .241/ .292/ .470, 5 HRs, 13 RBIs, 15 Runs, 7 SBs (AAA Lehigh Valley)
  • José Rodríguez (INF) – .184/ .300/ .290, 2 HRs, 9 RBIs, 15 Runs, 6 SBs (1 CS) (AA Reading)
  • Jordan Luplow (LF/RF/3B) – .330/ .385/ .557, 5 HRs, 18 RBIs, 21 Runs, 5 SBs

Wilson and Castro are the two guys with the most recent experience with the big league roster and both are already on the 40-man roster. Castro played 14 games for Philly after coming over from Pittsburgh where he appeared in 78.

WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 25: Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Scott Kingery (4) forces out the Washington Nationals’s Eric Thames (9) while turning a double play during the Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals MLB game at Nationals Park on August 25, 2020 in Washington, D.C.. (Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire)

He didn’t have much offensive success, but could play second, short, and third. Wilson’s stint with the big league club was short lived, but exciting. In just eight games, he logged times at five different positions. Wilson tallied a home run in his first major league at-bat, and finished his run with five runs, two RBIs, and 3 steals. At Lehigh Valley (AAA) last season, he recorded a 30 homer, 30 steal season. His versatility and ability to stuff the stat sheet would likely have made him the front runner to be called up.

Rodríguez is also on the 40-man, but he is down at Reading (AA). He was one major league appearance as a pinch runner last season with the White Sox, and had a small stretch at AAA, but has mostly been in AA in his career. The Phillies traded for José shortly after the season started on April 5. He currently sits at No. 28 on their top prospects list.

The other two players, Kingery and Luplow, have the most big league experience of the five on the list, but neither is on the 40-man so a corresponding move would have to be made in order for them to get the call. This would make them options only in extreme circumstances. Kingery logged 984 plate appearances in 2018 and 2019 after signing the biggest contract at the time for a player who never appeared in a major league game. He has since been seen sparingly, not seeing game time since 2021 in the majors.

Luplow was signed to a minor league deal in March, one day after he was cut by the Braves. He has the best offensive numbers of the group so far this year, and has seen time everywhere except short and catcher in the majors. Luplow has bounced around, playing for six different teams in the big leagues since 2017. He has slashed .212/ .314/ .423 with 47 long balls and has knocked in 125 runs in his career. Mostly a corner outfielder and third baseman, plus needing another move, he would still not be one of the top options despite his offense success to start 2024.

Ultimately, the organization has depth and a decent amount of major league experience. With some offensive potential mixed in, they are prepared should something go terrible and they need another call up in the short term.

AP Photo/Nick Wass