Astros Rumors: Does Luhnow have to trade Appel and Phillips?

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Is Phillips untouchable?

Brett Phillips Photo by @QCBanditPhotog.

Centerfield

Jake Marisnick, despite the hot start and elite defense, is not a good hitter. The Astros will need Phillips patrolling centerfield for many years, and it will keep George Springer in right field where his defense stands out over other right fielders. I’m not sure who the future left fielder is, but the way Preston Tucker has been riding the pine recently, you have to wonder if he will be a power bat off the bench. Domingo Santana will most likely be traded, and you have Derek Fisher, Daz Cameron, and Kyle Tucker down the road.

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Unless the plan is to put Tony Kemp in centerfield if Phillips is traded, there are not any other top centerfielders in the system. Teoscar Hernandez was supposed to be part of the plan, but he has a disappointing season batting around .200 with 20+ steals. The last thing the Astros need is another Mendoza line hitter with a plus stolen base skill.

Unless Luhnow think the future is Kemp or Marisnick at centerfield, he must keep Phillips and his five-tool potential and leadoff hitter on this team, unless…

If you trade for a Cole Hamels or Tyson Ross type pitcher with team control past the 2015 season, then you will have to include a guy like Phillips. He would be the trade headliner because, at this moment, Phillips is the number one Astros prospect. The other prospects included would not be a guy like Appel, Kemp, or Reed.

Phillips 2015 stats (Baseball-Reference): 364 AB/ .313/  78 Runs/ 15 HR/ 63 RBI/ 13 SB/ .927 OPS.

Verdict:

Is Phillips untouchable? No, but he should only be traded for an ace pitcher with control. He should not be included in a Cueto trade. I do think the Astros would trade Appel over Phillips if they can help it.

For extensive content on Phillips, including interviews, click here.

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