Philadelphia Phillies should call the Nationals for some center field help

Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /

If you’re just joining us, the Philadelphia Phillies have a center field problem. The days of Shane Victorino are long in the past. Where’s the next Doug Glanville when you need him?

The Phillies have nobody to play center field for them in 2022 that inspires any level of confidence. Mickey Moniak is becoming one of the biggest first overall pick busts in recent MLB history. All of the other youngsters aren’t much better either.

However, an article published on MLB Trade Rumors discussing practically every possibility for the team did give some insight into some crazy directions the team can go. One involves a trade with the rival Washington Nationals. I’m intrigued by it because before there was Juan Soto receiving all of the hype down in D.C., the top outfield prospect the Nationals had was a guy named Victor Robles.

The Philadelphia Phillies should call the Nationals about a Victor Robles trade

Robles has been a great, big disappointment for the Nationals, considering how highly hyped he was several years ago. Debuting in 2017 and getting a little more playing time in 2018, Robles didn’t become a major factor for the Nationals until the 2019 season. That was the year he spent the season as the club’s starting center fielder. He was the sixth-place finisher in the Rookie of the Year Award, armed with a .255/.326/.419 slash line, 33 doubles, 17 home runs, 65 RBI, and 28 stolen bases.

Was it a year for the record books? Certainly not. But all things considered, with the Phillies, it’s a huge uplift from what they have had in recent years.

The 2020 campaign was a rough one for Robles, as was this past season. Combined, we get a full 159 games season.

Unfortunately, it includes only a .209/.304/.302 batting line. Robles hit only 26 doubles and five home runs in this span. His stolen bases went down drastically as well to only 12 in 19 attempts.

By now, you probably don’t want anything to do with Robles. What could he possibly give the Phillies?

Victor Robles is one of those young guys who may just need a change of scenery.

Unlike some of the other options, Robles has been good in the past. He wasn’t great in his 2019 rookie season. Even if the power was a result of the change in the baseballs, the stolen bases and superb defense make him worth the risk.

Last year, the Nationals acquired Lane Thomas, a possibility to take over the center field job from Robles next season. It’s certainly not the direction many thought Robles’ career would head toward. The good news is that he’s only 24.

Age and the number of years of control don’t give Robles the edge over a guy like Moniak or Adam Haseley. What I like about Robles is that he has proven it before to some extent.

Back in 2017, the year ended with Robles as the third-best prospect in all of baseball. He was ahead of guys like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Ronald Acuna Jr., and everyone else not named Shohei Ohtani or Gleyber Torres. I understand those projections could be misses as much as anything else. But if available, Robles is the kind of player that could be a huge difference-maker for the Phillies even if he never does reach his full potential.

Robles finally begins to make big league money next season with his first trip into the arbitration process. The cost won’t be substantial to the payroll. Much larger could be the National League East tax to go with it.

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The Philadelphia Phillies shouldn’t overreach to acquire Victor Robles because of all of the uncertainty. For the sake of at least getting a guy that can play the position well with experience in his bat, it’s worth calling the evil Nationals to find out whether or not there’s a deal to make.