Philadelphia Phillies bench player and outfielder John Mayberry, Jr. has been on a tear recently.
In the month of July, Mayberry is hitting .256 with two home runs, 12 RBI and has an OPS of .857, consisting of a slugging percentage of .564. He's also leading the team in extra base hits this month with eight.
Not bad for a reserve player, don't ya think?
Considering Mayberry's been pretty good recently, it's questionable as to what the Phillies will do at the trade deadline this year. Both GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and manager Charlie Manuel have their opinions about what kind of player they want to pursue; however, Manuel has said that he wants both a hitter and a reliever. In the article linked in the previous sentence, Manuel says this in regards to his want for a bat:
“I’m talking about a good one,” he said. “If we’re going to get somebody, I want somebody good that will help us. I don’t want someone we’ve already got. We could use a good hitter.”
Now, it's funny to see and hear what Charlie Manuel says in these kinds of interviews, but he almost always makes a valid point, regardless of whether his sentence structure makes sense (I like to think Charlie Manuel speaks in phrases, not sentences).
Nonetheless, Manuel is suggesting that the Phillies need a hitter from an outside source. This would imply that Charlie doesn't believe that John Mayberry, Jr. is the solution to his team's hitting woes. The Phillies, in Charlie's opinion, need a bat, most likely a right-handed bat who plays in the outfield.
On a team that's got a slash line of .249/.322/.381 (batting average, OBP and SLG respectively; OPS would be .703) against left-handed pitching, Mayberry sure isn't the answer. Against southpaws this season, he's hitting just .214 with two home runs, six RBI, and has an OPS of .672 in 25 games against them.
If the Phillies plan on making a difference in the second half of the year, Mayberry might not be the guy they're looking for.
So, what are their options? Outfielders like Jeff Francoeur, Melky Cabrera, Ryan Ludwick and Josh Willingham have at least made their way into the conversations of what right-handed bat the Phillies should target this season.
But in my opinion, there's one guy who stands out above them all: Carlos Beltran.
Beltran is having a huge comeback year. After playing 81 games or less each of the last two seasons due to injury, the Mets' switch-hitting right fielder has already played 92 games this year, in which he's hit .293 with 15 home runs, 61 RBI, and has an OPS of .917.
For any player, those are awesome stats, and given that he's in his contract year, he's surely making a name for himself again. And those stats would be great for the Phillies: as of today, his average would be place second on the team, as would his home run and RBI counts, and his OPS would lead current Phillies' totals by over .100.
Who is the best option for the Phillies to emerge out of their massive hitting slump?
However, there are some downsides with Beltran. For starters, he hits just .232 against lefties this season compared to .317 against righties. Although he is a switch hitter, that .232 average might not help the Phillies' terrible offense against southpaws.
There's also the fact that he's got his injury history. Having played 81 and 64 games in 2009 and 2010 respectively, there's a chance that Beltran could re-injure himself in the second half of the season.
And last but not least, there's also the problem that Carlos Beltran makes $18.5 million this season. Although the Mets have said that they'll cover most, if not all of the salary, they want some top-notch prospects in return to build their team for the future.
While the Phillies have some good prospects, acquiring a half-season rental who likely won't re-sign with the team after the season for a top prospect like Domonic Brown, Jonathan Singleton, or Jarred Cosart might not be the smartest move, especially since the Mets are in the same division as the Phillies and such a move could haunt the Phillies in the future as well.
Lastly, Beltran has a clause in his contract that he can't be offered arbitration after the season, so in a usual instance where a team losing a player would get draft pick compensation for the next year, there would be no such case should the Phillies get Beltran, which would mean that the Phillies really don't get anything in return for Beltran aside from his numbers, which aren't anything to laugh at, but such a trade would only weaken the team's farm system.
Ruben Amaro, Jr. is going to have a lot to think about over the next nine days. He'll have to figure out whether to prioritize the bullpen or the offense and he'll have to choose the player he believes will give the team the boost it needs to win its second World Series in the last four years. Knowing Ruben, he'll get some sort of deal done, but the question is at what price.
Does Ruben intend on sticking with Mayberry or trading for a proven veteran like Beltran?
If I were Ruben, I'd pull the trigger on Beltran instantly, so as long as the deal was right. But what do you think is the best move for the Phillies to make regarding the offensive situation? Trade for talent or continue to try what's given them the best record in baseball so far? Please share your thoughts below.