The Phillies are getting absolutely nothing out of their outfield. In 183 at-bats, Phillies outfielders are batting .219 with five home runs.
Ben Revere hasn’t gotten off the ground, Laynce Nix and John Mayberry are doing pretty much what you’d expect in one outfield corner and Domonic Brown remains the wildly inconsistent, baseball version of Evan Turner.
The Phillies’ outfield is as unsettled as it was months ago when the offseason was just underway. Of these four players, Revere has the longest track record as a starter and that was one full season in Minnesota. So it is odd today — as it was months ago — that the Phillies so easily gave up on Nate Schierholtz.
Schierholtz is hitting .350 with eight extra-base hits for the Cubs, who are paying him a measly $2.25 million. The Phillies had a chance to offer him arbitration but instead non-tendered him at the end of November.
It was a curious move at the time. The Phils had no regular outfielders, had to know a platoon would be utilized in one corner, and yet still parted ways and got nothing for Schierholtz. This despite his well above-average defense, his .287 batting average vs. righties since 2011 and his overall superiority to Nix.
The Phils’ reasoning? Nix was under contract already for $1.35MM in 2013. High-priced outfielders were still on the market, and they were still “players” for guys like Angel Pagan, Cody Ross, etc.
But it’s not as if the Phils have never eaten the final year of a bad, unnecessary contract. They did it in Danys Baez’s second year. They did it in Adam Eaton’s third year. If you didn’t want both players on the 25-man roster, Nix could have been moved or cut. To keep him over Schierholtz just because Nix had a small guarantee … well, that’s the kind of move that has gotten the Phillies to this place. It’s poor talent evaluation. Had Schierholtz not gotten hurt after being traded to the Phils, they probably would have kept him. But instead his track record was dismissed, and Ruben Amaro chose to go with Nix, the guy who has some power but never walks, plays worse defense than Schierholtz and doesn’t put the ball in play as much.
It just made no sense, and it continues to make no sense as the Phillies’ outfield gives them nothing. This is a poorly assembled team. Schierholtz isn’t some sort of savior, but he has 2.5-WAR potential as a platoon outfielder getting 70% of at-bats in a given season.
This 6-10 record, this pathetic offense, these situational struggles, they just feel like the culmination of years of myopic moves and strict adherence to an organizational philosophy that doesn’t mesh with winning in this day and age. Schierholtz is yet another example.
Amaro expressed shock on Monday that the Phillies had gone three (now four) games without a walk.
Why is he shocked? This is the only organization in baseball that doesn’t employ an advanced stats department, and he’s the one who built the team.