The biggest story line out of Phillies spring training is the battle for the vacant center field. The candidates were former All-Star Odubel Herrera, Scott Kingery, Roman Quinn, Adam Haseley, and the dark horse Mickey Moniak. But once Adam Haseley went down with an injury, the competition was over. The Phillies just refuse to admit it.
Im sure they had hoped that one of the younger players would take the competition and win it outright. I’m sure they didn’t want Odubel Herrera to win it, and bring about a fire storm of negative publicity thanks to his domestic violence incident in 2019 that kept him out of the game completely in 2020. But the reality is none of the younger players have won the competition. Kingery, in particular, has struggled at the plate so much that you YES YOU could probably put up a similar stat line. That leaves one man. The only true center fielder; Odubel Herrera.
When looking back at it, this was probably the most likely scenario. The Phillies entered this “competition” with two converted infielders vying for the job (Kingery and Quinn.) and then a 22 year old who had never played AAA baseball. Haseley was the only real competition.
The Phillies would benefit from ending the Kingery in the outfield experiment. Its never been good. Some attribute his struggles at the plate to the fact that hes never been allowed to play his natural position (second base.) Roman Quinn is a nice spark plug off the bench, but that’s it. You also cant rely on Quinn who probably got injured reading this post.
Herrera is hitting .300. He is the only true center fielder. He is the best option. The Phillies will no doubt drag this out. I could even see them opening the season with Quinn as the “starting center fielder” like when they opened up the 2016 season with someone named Cedric Hunter in left. We all said “oh that’s cute” but deep down we all knew that wouldn’t last long.
This competition is over. Its been over. Odubel Herrera is the ONLY option in center. Like it or not.