Odubel Herrera was not included in the Phillies’ starting lineup for Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Dodgers. It’s the fourth time this month that manager Pete Mackanin has benched Herrera. As CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reported last week, Mackanin is frustrated with Herrera’s declining plate discipline.
Aaron Altherr got the start in center field on Wednesday and that may be a theme before the end of the season. “I like Altherr in center field,” Mackanin said in Salisbury’s latest column. Mackanin continued, “[There’s] a good chance he’ll be the center fielder and we’ll move Odubel (to a corner outfield spot), but we’re not doing anything right now. The thought crossed my mind to make that switch this year — maybe in September, just to get Odubel familiarized with a corner.”
Herrera was selected by the Phillies from the Rangers in the Rule 5 draft two winters ago. He had played almost exclusively at second base but the Phillies moved him to center field in a move that paid big dividends. During the first half this year, Herrera hit .294/.378/.427 with 10 home runs, 33 RBI, 49 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 378 plate appearances and was the Phillies’ lone representative at the All-Star Game last month.
As the Phillies have a glut of outfield depth with Altherr, prospects Nick Williams and Roman Quinn, as well as Tyler Goeddel, Dylan Cozens, and others, Salisbury suggests the Phillies could try to trade Herrera this winter. It wouldn’t be unlike the Phillies, who traded a young cost-controlled reliever in Ken Giles to the Astros last winter. Of course, center fielders with a skill set like Herrera’s — contact, speed, plate discipline, average-or-better defense — are hard to come by, so the Phillies might prefer to hold onto the 24-year-old and hope he can continue to evolve.