Add this name to the list of players the Phillies believe can boost their offense: Adam Jones.
With the non-waiver trade deadline set for 4 p.m. Tuesday, the Phillies are targeting Jones as a possible upgrade in right field, according to major-league sources. Jones has spent 11 seasons as the Baltimore Orioles’ centerfielder.
There would be a few hurdles to a deal for Jones. As a player with 10/5 rights (at least 10 years in the majors, the last five or more with the same team), Jones can veto any trade. He will be a free agent at the end of the season, and there’s a sense that he might want to stay in Baltimore, where he has become the face of the franchise.
But Jones also has connections with several Phillies executives who once worked for the Orioles. Phillies team president Andy MacPhail was running the Orioles’ baseball operations in 2008 when the club acquired Jones from the Seattle Mariners in one of the best trades in franchise history.
Jones, who turns 33 next week, is batting .277 with a .304 on-base percentage, 10 home runs and a .727 OPS that would be his lowest mark since 2008. But the Phillies entered play Wednesday with the second-lowest right field OPS (.640) in the National League and optioned struggling Aaron Altherr to triple A earlier this week. Acquiring Jones would also enable the Phillies to strengthen their bench because it would relegate Nick Williams to a reserve role in which he excelled earlier in the season.
Although Jones hasn’t played right field since 2007, an NL talent evaluator suggested he would adjust well to playing a corner outfield spot at this point in his career, especially because many scouts believe he has lost a step in center field. Jones also has a reputation within the game as a positive clubhouse presence.
Phillies players have expressed confidence in their ability to score runs. But they also would welcome additions from the outside before Tuesday.
“This is my first deadline that’s been meaningful,” leftfielder Rhys Hoskins said. “It’s interesting. But it just means that we’re ready to compete into October.”
Derby helped Hoskins: So much for the theory that competing in the Home Run Derby would mess with Hoskins’ swing.
Hoskins went deep in the first inning Wednesday, his fourth homer in five games. He has two doubles and four homers in 29 plate appearances since his impressive performance in the Home Run Derby.
If anything, Hoskins believes the Derby actually helped his stroke by forcing him to be more aggressive about pulling the ball to left field.
“I haven’t done that very well this year for whatever reason,” Hoskins said. “I’ve been a little more passive on the inner half of the plate. In the Derby I was able to pull balls more true and keep the ball a lot straighter instead of hooking the ball. It seems to be carrying over.”
Farewell, Chase: In his final regular-season game in Philadelphia, retiring Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and got standing ovations when his name was announced in the lineup, before his first at-bat and after the final pitch when he emerged for a curtain call.
Utley played 766 regular-season games at Citizens Bank Park, third all-time behind Jimmy Rollins (806) and Ryan Howard (772). He finished his career as a .291 hitter in 2,796 at-bats at CBP, .246 in 69 at-bats at Veterans Stadium.
“Hats off to that guy,” Phillies pitcher Jake Arrieta said. “He’s well-respected around this game by former players, current players. Guys that are yet to come will know the type of guy that Chase was. He was very special to this organization. Guys that like we should all appreciate.”
Extra bases: Righthander Drew Anderson was optioned to triple A after the game to open a roster spot for lefty Ranger Suarez, who will make his major-league debut Thursday night in Cincinnati. … After using seven relievers, including three for two innings apiece, in Tuesday night’s 16-inning win, the Phillies recalled righthander Jake Thompson from Lehigh Valley and optioned infielder Mitch Walding, a move that left them with a three-man bench Wednesday.