The Rangers are looking for an upgrade in the outfield. As such, the club has discussed speedy center fielder Billy Hamilton with the Reds, per MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. Sullivan adds that the still-rebuilding Phillies might be willing to trade center fielder Odubel Herrera which would create a match with the Rangers.
Herrera, soon to be 25 years old, was originally signed in the summer of 2008 as an amateur free agent by the Rangers. The Phillies selected him from the Rangers in the Rule-5 draft two winters ago. Herrera had an outstanding rookie campaign in 2015, batting .297/.344/.418 in 537 plate appearances. He was able to maintain that production in 2016, finishing with a .286/.361/.420 triple-slash line with 15 home runs, 49 RBI, 87 runs scored, and 25 stolen bases in 656 PA. Herrera was the Phillies’ lone representative in the All-Star Game.
Herrera has shown the ability to play above-average — though inconsistent — defense. He strikes out a fair amount but showed a massively-improved eye at the plate last season, boosting his walk rate from five percent to nearly 10 percent. What might be most attractive to interested teams, however, is likely the fact that he’s under team control through the 2020 season.
As the free agent market is not particularly robust, teams in need of upgrades may be forced to make trades which works out well for teams like the Phillies.