The Phillies will be without corner outfielder Aaron Altherr for four to six months as he has undergone surgery to repair a torn extensor carpi ulnaris retinaculum. With utilityman Cody Asche battling a Grade 1 strain of his right oblique, only Peter Bourjos and Tyler Goeddel remain healthy on the depth chart in the outfield corners.
This increases the likelihood that a non-roster invitee like David Lough or Cedric Hunter makes the Opening Day roster, but as ESPN’s Jayson Stark noted on Buster Olney’s podcast on Tuesday, the club is also searching elsewhere for corner outfield help.
The thing is, there aren’t that many corner outfielders left in free agency. According to MLB Trade Rumors, there’s Marlon Byrd, David DeJesus, Alex Rios, Grady Sizemore, and Delmon Young. Three of them — Byrd, Sizemore, and Young — are former Phillies. The Phillies could try to acquire a corner outfielder in a trade, but they would need to find a team that has a capable player that’s superfluous to the roster and would cost little in terms of players. Athletics outfielder Sam Fuld has fallen down the depth chart with the acquisition of Khris Davis and the versatility of Chris Coghlan, so he would be one potential trade option. But overall, the players that would fit the Phillies’ specific criteria are few in number.
Even if the Phillies can’t find a fit, don’t expect them to feel pressured to have prospect Nick Williams make his major league debut earlier than expected. The 22-year-old is the club’s third-best prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.