Mar 29, 2022

Captain America Goes To San Francisco

Luke Williams
2021 Topps Now #332
Don't get me wrong - I'm extremely happy that the Phillies went out and signed Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos.  They're exactly the kind of big bats that this team needed to get over the hump and into the playoffs for the first time since 2011.  However, it's always a bummer to see some folks move on.  Over the past five months, we lost four of my favorite players: Freddy Galvis, Hector Neris, Andrew McCutchen and Brad Miller.  A fifth player can now be added to that list this past Sunday when Luke Williams was traded to the San Francisco Giants for minor league third baseman Will Toffey.

Luke Williams was responsible for one of the best games of the 2021 season.  On June 9th, he made his first career start in the Major Leagues and won the game with a walk-off home run.  This capped off an incredible five day stretch which began when he helped Team USA qualify for the Olympics and ended with a nickname given to him by Zach Eflin - Captain America.

Luke was designated for assignment to make room on the 40 man roster for Nick Castellanos.  Now, I definitely understand the need to free up a roster spot for a slugger like Castellanos, but I would have very strongly preferred it if the Phillies kept Williams and used this as an opportunity to correct their mistake and get rid of Odubel Herrera.  Even if Herrera didn't get suspended for domestic violence in 2019, he's a sloppy and frustrating player who is a defensive liability.  Luke Williams spent time at every position in 2021 except pitcher and catcher.  He's an ideal 4th outfielder who can fill in just about everywhere (including center field), and he's an easy dude to root for.  He always hustled every time I watched him play, and he's never been arrested for choking his girlfriend in an Atlantic City casino.

I'm fairly confident in saying that there are no Phillies fans who are happy to see Odubel back, but because the front office decided to sign him, they were forced into a situation where they needed to free up a roster spot, and Luke Williams had to be traded as a result.  He'll join former Phillies first baseman Darin Ruf on the defending NL West Champion Giants.

Best of luck to you out west, Captain America.

UPDATE: The Phillies have inexplicably traded another center field prospect earlier today when they traded former 2017 first round draft pick Adam Haseley to the Chicago White Sox for minor league pitcher McKinley Moore.  Maybe they really see something in this pitcher, but he's 23 years old, he's got a high walk rate and an ERA over 4.00, and he hasn't made it past Single A ball, so I doubt it.  I want to believe that they're doing this to open up a spot on the roster for another trade that they have in the works (maybe for a closer), but the organization seemed to be pretty down on Haseley since he temporarily left the team last April for undisclosed personal reasons.  Regardless of the reason, it is pretty puzzling that a team whose weakest position is center field have just traded away two 25 year old center fielders who were on the 40 man roster at the start of the month.