Phil Gosselin (Photo by Cheryl Pursell)

Fixing the Phillies: Utility players

So it’s not the most important part of the roster to fix this offseason, but the Phillies – and every team – need quality utility players to bring off the bench. The Phillies have some options to fill out the roster and could actually add an additional position player thanks to the implementation of the 26-man roster for 2020.

Two easy signs for next season are Brad Miller and Phil Gosselin. Miller hit just .226 in 31 pinch-hit appearances with the Phillies and Indians, but is a capable utility player at a number of positions, giving the Phillies some lineup flexibility. The left-handed hitting Miller hit right-handers hard, batting .274 with 12 of his 13 home runs coming against righties.

Miller can easily play second, third and left with average defensive skills. In a pinch, he has also played at short and in right field in the past couple of seasons, but with limited opportunities.

The fact that Miller, who will turn 30 later this month, is a veteran player with some pop and can mentally accept a utility role with the team is an added plus.

As for Gosselin, 31, he is more adept at coming off the bench than is Miller. Last season, Gosselin hit .313 in 31 at-bats as a pinch-hitter. Even though he spent much of the season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Gosselin still finished tied for sixth in the National League in pinch-hits.

Like Miller, Gosselin provides some position flexibility and can play third, short and left with first and second base on his resume if absolutely needed.

Sean Rodriguez has position flexibility, but hit just .223 on the season and just .154 as a pinch-hitter. His comments about the “entitled” Phillies fans didn’t endear him and he was the poster child for every negative reaction to manager Gabe Kapler. Logan Morrison hit .217 in limited pinch-hitting opportunities with the Phillies, but he can only play corner outfield and at first base. He’s a potential power bat to bring off the bench, but isn’t worth more than a minor league contract offer and he is also looking to play overseas next season to make more money than he could potentially make here.

Another priority will be to look for a better backup catcher option than the Phillies currently have with Andrew Knapp. Deivy Grullon may have some potential, but he’s a young player who likely wouldn’t thrive on limited offensive chances and playing once a week, at best. A veteran like Jeff Brantly would be a much better fit to work behind J.T. Realmuto.

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