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As John Fogerty once said in his famed hit, "Look at me, I can be center field," this is a phrase no Philadelphia Phillies outfielder has had the right to utter in nearly five years.

The Phillies have a problem. They've tried Scott Kingery, Roman Quinn, Odubel Herrera, and Matt Vierling in the position and none have filled the aching void that has presented itself in center field.

In 2022, Phillies center fielders are hitting a combined .203 alongside a .250 on-base percentage. These horrific numbers, coupled with their poor defensive capabilities, have left the Phillies in a tight spot.

Their final in-house hope, Mickey Moniak, is set to begin rehab action after a broken right hand has him sidelined for an initially predicted 5-7 week period to begin the season.

It's time for the Phillies to address the center field position once and for all, and any of these six trade candidates would be a significant, if not team-altering upgrade to the Phillies' current situation:

Cedric Mullins

Perhaps the most costly of the names on this list, Mullins established himself as a true star during the 2021 season, where he compiled a 30/30 campaign, earning his first All-Star nod. Mullins was also tied for 11th most fWAR in baseball at 6.0, posted a 137 wRC+, and scored 91 runs as part of a historically bad Orioles club.

Not only are his numbers exceptional on paper, but Mullins also features a plus glove (11 OAA in 2021) and has the speed to slot directly into the Phillies' leadoff spot, which could also desperately use a boost.

Thus far in 2022, Mullins is doing just fine. He's cooled off a bit from what was a remarkable 2021, but is still managing a .253/.315/.416 slash line, alongside seven stolen bases, five home runs, and 0.9 fWAR.

However, as was previously mentioned, Mullins will come at a price. He's under team control until 2026, therefore requiring a significant haul to pry him from Baltimore. In order for the Phillies to get a deal done, they will likely have to part with one of their top prospects in Andrew Painter or Mick Abel, alongside two or three other notable pieces.

Still, if the Phillies are looking to shop for another superstar, Mullins should be the first person they call.

Bryan Reynolds

After a career year launched Reynolds into stardom in 2021, he fell back down to earth with a thud in 2022.

Everything, from Reynolds' bat to his glove, has gone into freefall this season. He's hitting a putrid .214/.313/.349, and even grades out poorly defensively, just one season after he was one of the more advanced center fielders in the game. Even the peripherals look dismal. There is almost nothing positive to say about Reynolds' season thus far...

So, why not buy low?

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This has happened to Reynolds before. He posted a strong rookie campaign in 2019, in which he racked up 3.4 fWAR, only to fall flat in 2020 accruing 0.1 fWAR across 55 games. In 2021, Reynolds ran rampant, logging 6.1 fWAR, and has followed the pattern, faceplanting for -0.1 fWAR in 2022. 

He might be inconsistent, but Reynolds is a darn good ballplayer, who doesn't reach free agency until 2026. 6+ WAR seasons don't grow on trees. He has the potential to be an exciting asset going forward, and the Phillies would be wise to pull the trigger at a discounted price. It can only go up!

Enrique Hernández

Hernández very quickly established himself as one of the better, if not best, defensive center fielders in the game in 2021. He posted a whopping eight Outs Above Average at the position in 2021, and currently boasts two OAA early on in 2022.

The Phillies are in a defensive bind while Bryce Harper is unable to throw, and Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber are limited in their outifield mobility. Adding a plus glove in center field would certainly help with that.

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What is perhaps most intriguing about Hernández, outside of his experience at a breadth of positions, is his postseason resume.

The utilityman has appeared in the postseason in seven straight years. Across 69 games worth of experience, he's managed a .900 OPS, alongside 13 home runs.

His regular season start hasn't been as promising, but Hernández would be a prime option for a team looking to make a stretch run.

Manuel Margot

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Sure, the Rays are second in the AL East, but that hasn't stopped them from wheeling and dealing at the deadline in years past.

Margot has taken a big step forward this year, which the Rays seemed to know he would do, as he signed a two-year, $19 million contract with them in the offseason.

While he is the least likely of their two options to be traded, it could certainly happen, but would not come cheap. The Rays are known for their ability to constantly come out on top of trades, and would likely receive a haul in return for a player in the midst of a career season.

Kevin Kiermaier

The likelier of the two Tampa Bay center fielders to be dealt, Kiermaier is following his signature blueprint this year. His offensive numbers are awful, but he's riding his elite presence on the basepaths and the best outfield glove in baseball to a positive 0.4 fWAR regardless.

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Still, a glove-first option would suit the Phillies, and it would come as a rental, with Kiermaier likely to see his $13 million club option declined next year by whatever team he's with.

Ramón Laureano

A bit of a wait-and-see option, Laureano recently returned to game action after riding out an 80-game PED suspension.

Laureano broke onto the scene in 2019, where he posted an .860 OPS alongside 24 home runs and some impressive defense across 123 games.

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In 2022 however, his output has been abysmal across the board. Even in his Triple-A "rehab" assignment, Laureano could only muster a .135 average across ten games with a pitiful .462 OPS.

Whether or not this is the "real" Laureano remains to be seen. That said, should he carry on producing at his current level, he'll likely be non-tendered by the Athletics next winter.


Any of these six options would serve as a mountainous upgrade to the horror show the Phillies currently have playing there.

If Philadelphia is serious about contending in 2022, they'll have to make a move sooner rather than later. 

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