Former Gold Glove Outfielder Projected as Midseason Trade Solution for Phillies

Michael A. Taylor

Getty Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Michael A. Taylor could be an offensive upgrade for the Philadelphia Phillies via trade

The Philadelphia Phillies were one of the best offensive teams in MLB last season, ranking in the top 10 for batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, home runs and RBI. 

The start of the 2024 season has been a different story, though, as the Phillies are in the bottom half of MLB in nearly all of those categories so far. And with one of the highest payrolls in the game allocated to stars like Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber, there aren’t many positions where the Phillies can upgrade offensively via trade.

But it seems clear they can improve at center field, with Zachary D. Rymer listing the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Michael A. Taylor as a potential trade solution at that spot for the Phillies at the deadline.

Johan Rojas, Cristian Pache Are Struggling Offensively for the Philadelphia Phillies

“If the Phillies’ lineup was clicking like it’s supposed to be, it’s doubtful anyone would notice their relative deficiency in center field,” Rymer noted. “Alas, the lineup is not clicking and the knives are out for the club’s center field brigade. And not unjustifiably so, given the position has been an offensive black hole.”

The Phillies’ offensive deficiency out of center field has been pointed out by fans and analysts as both of their primary options, Johan Rojas and Cristian Pache, are widely seen as defensive specialists. 

“The Phillies need to make a decision soon,” David Murphy argued for The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Either Rojas is here to stay, in which case they can swap Pache out for a more potent bat, or he needs some time in the minors to become the hitter he currently isn’t.”

In 194 at bats across two big-league seasons, Rojas has a career .278/.280/.244 slash line and just a .200 batting average so far in 2024. Meanwhile, across 399 at bats in five seasons, Pache has a career .175/.235/.273 slash line. 

“One plus side is that Johan Rojas and Cristian Pache have the Phillies co-leading MLB in Outs Above Average from center field,” Rymer added. “And yet, it’s fair to ask how much defense can account for such putrid offense.”

Michael A. Taylor Has ‘Sneaky Power,’ Could Be a Trade Upgrade for the Philadelphia Phillies

Taylor could provide an offensive upgrade at the position while still holding his own on defense. He is slashing .298/.327/.362 so far in 2024 to go along with six RBI in 47 at bats. Plus, he holds a Gold Glove Award earned in 2021 with the Kansas City Royals.

“Taylor is a plus defender with sneaky power, so he’d be the best option for the Phillies if the Pittsburgh Pirates make him available,” Rymer wrote.

The Pirates are off to a strong start, tied for the most wins in the competitive National League Central Division, and they may opt to hold onto Taylor past the trade deadline if the playoffs are in sight. But he is one-year, $4 million deal and scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency at the end of the season, making some value accrued in return for trading him before then a potentially-attractive option as well.

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