By Sam Bush
The Phillies missed the playoffs again (2011 was their last appearance) and they have a number of needs to fill, so they may need to get creative.
One factor working in their favor: No pitching staff had a greater ground ball rate last season, and their home field — Citizens Bank Park — has less fair territory to cover than any other ballpark, according to the calculations from Clem’s Baseball Blog’s ballpark database.
That means the Phillies might be able to get aw ay with trading outfield defense for offense.
They could move a bat-first outfielder like Andrew McCutchen or Bryce Harper to center field full time (the Phillies ranked 24th in center field WAR last season), opening up a corner spot for the biggest bat in free agency: Marcell Ozuna.
Last year he finished third in the majors in wRC+ (179), and his underlying metrics — exit velocity, share of hard-hit balls and barrel percentage — rank as elite. Ozuna’s glove is the question mark, but that could matter less in Philly than just about anywhere else.