After a frustratingly (if understandably) quiet offseason, this wasn’t how the Philadelphia Phillies wanted to begin their ramp up to spring camp: The team announced on Friday afternoon that outfielder Brandon Marsh has undergone arthroscopic debridement surgery on his left knee. It is a relatively minor surgery, and Marsh is expected to return to game action in 3-4 weeks and be ready for Opening Day.
Phillies OF Brandon Marsh underwent successful left knee arthroscopic debridement surgery with Dr. Steven Cohen in Philadelphia this morning. It is anticipated that he will return to playing at 3 to 4 weeks and be ready to play by opening day.— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) February 9, 2024
Marsh’s knee bothered him on and off all last year, and hopefully this procedure will help manage things in the long run. Still, any potential missed time would be a sneaky big blow for the Phillies: The 26-year-old broke out in 2023, slashing .277/.372/.458 with 12 home runs while playing strong defense primarily in center field. He was expected to bump over to left this season with the emergence of Johan Rojas in center and Nick Castellanos holding down right. If Marsh isn’t back by Opening Day, however, Philly’s outfield options are slim, with quad-A type Jake Cave and defensive specialist Christian Pache on the bench and journeymen Kody Clemens and Cal Stevenson in Triple-A.
Of course, the team could always opt to shift Harper back to the outfield, bumping Alec Bohm to first (or Darick Hall, depending on the matchup) and Edmundo Sosa to third. The team is moving Harper to first base full-time for a reason, though, and that would seem to be something of a last resort. Granted, there will still be plenty of firepower in this Phillies lineup, and it doesn’t sound like Marsh is at risk of too extended an absence. Given the disappointment of last year’s NLCS collapse and the lack of meaningful offseason additions — a lack mostly driven by a strong big-league roster, but a lack nonetheless — and this news might crank the angst meter up a notch or two.