The Phillies seem to be on the fence about what to do with outfielder Domonic Brown. Brown ranked near the bottom in many offensive categories among starting offensive players, and played questionable defense in left field. What could the Phillies do with Brown? The Detroit Tigers might be a good match.
Brown indicated to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that he missed former Phillies assistant hitting coach Wally Joyner:
"I mean, it was a little different, not having Wally for sure," Brown said. "I mean, I had him the whole year. We bonded and clicked from the very first time that we saw each other, so we definitely stayed in contact, but it was definitely a little different."
In 2013, Brown credited his success to Joyner's efforts in working with him. So, maybe the Phillies could reunite Brown with his former hitting coach in a swap that would help both teams.
The Tigers are likely losing corner outfielder Torii Hunter to retirement. Hunter's contract expired after this season and he expressed that he might be done after the Tigers lost in the ALDS. The Tigers are also looking at losing designated hitter Victor Martinez to free agency too, while they are faced with losing starting pitcher Max Scherzer. Brown may be a good low-priced option for a corner outfield spot with some potential upside still there.
Sending Brown to the Tigers would not be a matter of charity. The Phillies could benefit from some pitching depth in the minor leagues. They do not need to get anything back for their roster in 2015; taking a chance on some lower-level arms that the Phillies can build in their system would really help. That the Reading Fightin' Phils were starting 30 year-old Adam Loewen, a former top draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles back in 2002 shows how little depth the Phillies have. 30 year-old former prospects belong in the Atlantic League, not AA.
The Phillies are also in need of catching depth. Only young Cameron Rupp exists in the Phillies' system, beyond Tommy Joseph, who may never be able to start. Catchers that the Phillies can plug in during time of injury whenever Carlos Ruiz or the current backup go down are important. Even if Joseph stays strong in 2015, he would likely stay in the minor leagues for steady play rather than spend time as a temporary fill-in.
There is also a benefit to clearing out a position. The Phillies struggled to find playing time for Grady Sizemore, Darin Ruf and others. Should Cody Asche end up in the outfield, he would now have a clear spot. Sizemore is a free agent and may sign with a team that has a better shot at the postseason, but with positions committed to so many players, opening up a spot anywhere would make a big difference as the Phillies evaluate their future.
Could Domonic Brown have a bright future in the major leagues? 2014 suggests otherwise, but there is still a possibility. A start over in a new city may be Brown's best chance to find out. The Phillies also probably do not want to spend all of 2015 as they did in 2014 once again.