Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Manuel

08
Mar
11

PHILLIES: Domonic Brown Has Hand Surgery

Let the rocky stretch for Phillies top prospect Domonic Brown continue.

After an off-season plagued with struggles in the Dominican Winter League that continued into Spring Training, Brown fractured his “hambone” on his first hit of the young Grapefruit League season late last week, sending him to the operating table less than month before opening day.

Fortunately for Brown, the prognosis in terms of his long-term health looks good.

The surgery was, as reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, a success, and the timetable for his return is around 4-6 weeks. Furthermore, Brown will be able resume baseball activities such as swinging a bat in about 2-3 weeks, or after the removal of his splint.

"Hambone" surgery will likely sideline Domonic Brown for at least a month.

With that said, the question is not whether Domonic Brown WILL get healthy.

The question is WHEN he is healthy, where will the 4th ranked prospect in all of baseball begin playing his regular season games?

Before the injury, Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel was attempting to give Brown every single opportunity imaginable to win the starting RF job over Ben Francisco, Ross Gload, John Mayberry Jr., and anyone else has been partaking in this friendly competition among potential teammates.

However, all that did was make matters even more difficult. Brown responded by going 0-15 at the plate with 9 K’s before his first hit (a single up the middle) was inevitably the final swing he’ll take in any Spring Training game.

At this point, it seems that Domonic Brown has borderline failed every single set of criteria the Phillies organization has set for him to be an everyday player at the big league level. Whether that it all his fault or not, the void left by outgoing RF Jayson Werth has not been filled, and the person slated to be responsible for such a task will be six months removed from playing his last productive innings of baseball.

To answer my own previous question, the evidence that was just stated clearly supports a certain notion.

Much to the dismay of Phillies fans everywhere and even members within the organization, it seems plausible and expected to some extent that Domonic Brown will start the season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Before you readers make a jump from one of the local bridges or simply throw a hissy fit, let me try to rationalize to you the thought process of the Phillies front office contingent if they do decide to go down this particular road with Brown.

This is not a demotion.

This is not Domonic Brown NOT living up to his hype.

This is a primary example of a 23-year-old kid who is learning what it takes to be a MLB ballplayer.

And this is our way of giving Domonic Brown the best opportunity to succeed in doing so.

But is that the correct thought process?

Ironically, Ben Francisco, Ross Gload, John Mayberry Jr. and company will be able to answer that in the coming weeks far better than Domonic Brown will.

30
Sep
10

PHILLIES: Projecting The NLDS Roster

Now that the Phillies have not only clinched a playoff birth, but have also locked up yet another NL East crown and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, it’s time to erase the next week of meaningless baseball from our memory and actually focus on what’s important.

Yes folks, would be the Phillies fourth straight appearance in the postseason.

As I said in my last post, I would break down the potential playoff roster once everything was clinched. Well, I am a man of my word, and since the Phillies 2010 playoffopener will officially be played Wed, October 7th with an opponent that will TBD, it looks like it is about time to see how the current 33-man roster will dwindle down to 25 once the NLDS starts.

PITCHERS (11): In this breakdown, I have the Phillies keeping four starters and eight relievers. In reality, with the way the schedule looks as of right now (Games on Wed, Fri, Sun, Mon, Wed.), they will most likely use three starters, in which Doc should be ready to go if a fourth game is needed on 4-days rest. With that said, Joe Blanton will most likely be on the playoff roster as a possible 4th game starter, and if not, a middle-reliever if need be.  With Blanton on the roster, along with Danys Baez, who was signed to a deal in the off-season basically to give this team another veteran hard-throwing RHP for the month of October, that means both David Herndon and Kyle Kendrick will be left off, as their normal spot on the 25-man roster should be fulfilled by a second LHP as you will see below. I also project Cole Hamels to start game 2, so he will have the opportunity to pitch at Citizens Bank Park in front of a home crowd, something that worked quite well with him in the last two previous postseasons.

SP: Roy Halladay (Game 1 Starter)

SP: Cole Hamels (Game 2/3 Starter)

SP: Roy Oswalt (Game 2/3 Starter)

SP: Joe Blanton (Game 4 Starter/Middle Reliever)

RHP: Chad Durbin

RHP: Danys Baez

RHP: Jose Contreras

LHP: J.C Romero

LHP: Antonio Bastardo

Setup: Ryan Madson

Closer: Brad Lidge

CATCHERS (2)

This is pretty simple. In a 5-game series, barring injury concerns, there is no need to have three catchers on the roster. With Carlos “Chooch” Ruiz and primary backup Brian Schneider, fortunately, there aren’t any of those concerns. With that said, look for the Phillies to keep a veteran backstop, that being Paul Hoover, in the bullpen as a nice little security blanket close by if the injury bug bites in the NLDS.

C: Carlos Ruiz

C: Brian Schneider

INFIELDERS (7): Aside from the normal starters and Wilson Valdez, Phillies management has some tough decisions to make on this end. Do they keep an extra outfielder with speed such as Domonic Brown or John Mayberry Jr.  instead of Greg Dobbs, who would usually be a shoe-in to play in the postseason if not for his struggles this season? At this point, in a NLDS 5-game series, I think yes. Also, the mid-season addition of Mike Sweeney limits the need for Dobbs as the combination of he, Vladez, Ross Gload have proven that they are able to play the positions that Dobbs can at an even higher level.

1B: Ryan Howard

2B: Chase Utley

SS: Jimmy Rollins

3B: Placido Polanco

UTIL: Ross Gload

UTIL: Mike Sweeney

UTIL: Wilson Valdez

OUTFIELDERS (5): Another tough one here. Aside from the everyday starters and Ben Francisco, the final outfield spot comes down to three guys. Domonic Brown, John Mayberry Jr., and yet again, Greg Dobbs. As a stated before, Dobbs’s lackluster performance this year really leaves him in a difficult position to make the postseason roster in any capacity. When it comes down to Dobbs and Mayberry, the biggest thing here is need. If the Phillies take Mayberry, that leaves only one possible LH situational hitter (Gload) on the bench. While it does depend on who they play in the NLDS, I don’t see Charlie Manuel and company feeling comfortable with that regardless of the opponent. I just don’t. Along with that rationale, taking Brown along for the postseason ride would go a long way towards giving him the proper experience that would allow him to properly implant Jayson Werth in the Phillies outfield once Werth bolts for the allure of dollar signs come the offseason.

RF: Jayson Werth

CF: Shane Victorino

LF: Raul Ibanez

OF: Ben Francisco

OF: Domonic Brown

Well, that was my stab at it. The two toughest calls here are obviously the battle of the last utility spot between Brown, Mayberry, and Dobbs and the decision of who’s going to be the 11th pitcher between Baez, Kendrick, and Durbin.

While I know the anticipation is killing all of you, the good news is that you only have to wait until next Wed. to find out.

07
Sep
10

PHILLIES: Recap of September Call-Ups

Fresh off of a split with a double-header against the Florida Marlins and sitting just a half-game back of the NL East leading Atlanta Braves, the Phillies made what looks like the last of their September roster moves (besides Danys Baez coming back up when he is healthy), as it appears that John Mayberry Jr. will likely join the team on Tuesday for the final month of the regular season.

Just to recap this protocol, on September 1st, the MLB rosters are able to expand from the usual 25-man roster to a maximum 40-player roster. This allows players who are currently on the Phillies organizational 40-man roster that are minor leagues for whatever reason to be brought up to major league competition until the end of the regular season without any coinciding roster move.

Including the probable addition of Mayberry and optimism surrounding the health of Baez, that will most likely bring the total to nine, that being the number additional players who will be occupying spots in the Phillies clubhouse until October 3rd (final day of the regular season).

Here is a recap of all the moves and the impact that these players may be able to make down the stretch.

RHP Danys Baez: Baez, a reliever who was once thought of as a potential closer if the Brad Lidge situation did not pan out, has been much of a disappointment since signing a 2-year, 5.5 million dollar contract at the start of the 2010 season. Inconsistent at best and borderline unbearable at worst, there is a reason that the team is not rushing to bring him back to the fold from injury. At the most, he may take up some mop-duty roles if games are out of hand to keep the likes of Ryan Madson, Chad Durbin, J.C Romero, and Jose Contreras fresh for when it really matters.

OF John Mayberry Jr.: While it’s not official yet, it’s widely assumed that Mayberry will be with the Phillies come Tuesday. Say what you want about him (overrated, a 1st rd. bust, etc.) but he really does have value for this team. For one, he absolutely demolishes lefties (.350 this year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley), so pinch-hitting duties and an occasional starting nod to spare Raul Ibanez against those southpaws may be in the cards for Mayberry if he is promoted. Secondly, Mayberry’s 20 stolen bases this year should give him an opportunity to pinch-run late in games. Lastly, his ability to play the two corner OF positions at an above-average level will give manager Charlie Manuel the option of using him during double-switch situations late in games. All things considered, none of this is valid if he is not added to the big league roster.

An interesting subplot to the end of the season could be the usage of Vance Worley.

RHP Vance Worley: Now this is a bit interesting. Worley has made a meteoric jump on MLB prospect lists since going from Double-A Reading to his first ever big league on Monday in the span of 3 months (a time frame that also includes being involved in the Roy Oswalt trade rumors). Yesterday, Worley did nothing to stop his climb to the top of the organizational mountain, going 5 innings and giving up just 2 ER in a spot-start against the Marlins. Just to refresh your memories, the Phillies branch has never been thrilled with the idea of Kyle Kendrick as the teams fifth starter, and I’m going to go out there on a limb and say that Worley’s role on this team for every fifth game will show that. Catch my drift? Even if that is not the case, Worley’s two well above-average big league pitches (FB, Slider) will allow him to have some worth as a primary long reliever in the next few weeks.

LHP Mike Zagurski: This was to be expected. Zagurski spent a month with the Phillies earlier this season when J.C Romero was down, and has showed utter dominance at with Lehigh Valley this year (13 straight scoreless innings at one point). While his transition to the big leagues could be viewed by some as shaky, with the ability to expand the roster, having LHP representation in the bullpen besides Romero and Antonio Bastardo was a must, and Zagurski and the next player I am going to talk about were really the only suitable candidates who could fill that role for this team.

LHP Nate Robertson: The former Tigers/Marlins starting pitcher was signed almost two weeks ago by the Phillies for one specific reason. Flexibility. In the past two seasons, Robertson has pitched in 47 games. He’s started 24 of them. So basically, the guy has just as much experience starting games has he does coming in relief. That had to weigh heavily in the mind of GM Ruben Amaro Jr. when they he, along with other members of the front office, were discussing signing a LHP for the stretch run. Well, his 6.1 innings of scoreless baseball he pitched AGAINST the Phillies as a member of the Marlins on April 18th this season may have had an impact as well.

RHP Scott Mathieson: Probably the move that most fans wanted to see. In July, Phillies fans got a small taste of Mathieson’s near 100 MPH in one game of relief duty. That first big league appearance in three years (two Tommy John surgeries later) may not have gone as well as all those involved would have liked, but a player who can bring a fastball like that to the table when he steps up to the mound is bound to be an valuable asset to a team in the middle of a pennant race, regardless of how much he actually pitches.

1b/ OF Ross Gload: It’s not really fair to lump Gload into the Sepetember “call-up” category, but his presence back in the Phillies clubhouse after a month on the disabled list can is indeed  a welcoming addition to the roster. While a groin injury may have sidelined Gload for the better part of the Phillies recent surge up the standings, he should assume duties as the Phillies primary LH bat along with Domonic Brown off the bench when he is deemed healthy to do so.

INF/OF Greg Dobbs: Dobbs has been designated for assignment twice this season due to his ability to produce at the big league level, so his production and playing time may be limited. However, once upon a time, Dobbs was the league leader in pinch hits, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Charlie Manuel, being the player’s coach that he is, gives Dobbs a couple at-bats against RHP, since he still has shown the ability to hit them even during this stretch of baseball that may mark the end of his career.

C Paul Hoover: Kind of ironic that the first of these call-ups may have been the most insignificant. Hoover, as it stands right now, is buried behind Carlos Ruiz and Brian Schneider on the teams depth chart at his position. This year though, with injuries being a common theme with both of those catchers, Hoover’s worth is to the team is invaluable, whether he is in the clubhouse or being used as the bullpen catcher.  Can’t say I would be comfortable seeing him behind the dish in a meaningful game though.

Notable absences from this list include both Andy Tracy and Cody Ransom.  Before you say “Why?”, take note of a possible and probable reason.

They are not on the current 40-man roster.

So, in order for them to participate in a big league contest, the Phillies would have to take two players off the 40-man roster, enabling them to be picked up on another team via waivers. As of right now, I cannot see the Phillies doing that to anyone besides Dobbs, and he would have to REALLY struggle for them to do so. Truthfully, I don’t see Dobbs getting enough opportunities to struggle any more than he has already, so it’s kind of a mute point.

For right now that is.

17
Aug
10

PHILLIES: The Final Push

With Chase Utley and Ryan Howard both speculated to return to within the next week, or via some reports even as early as Tuesday, it looks like the Phillies will finally have their full arsenal of weapons available to them for one of the only times all season sooner rather than later.

Perfect timing.

As of Monday morning, a off-day away from returning home for a four-game series with the San Francisco Giants, the Phillies are just two games behind the Atlanta Braves for the NL East lead, and are all knotted up for the NL wildcard berth with, go figure, the San Francisco Giants.

Needless to say, it would be very beneficial for a former MVP and one of the best middle-infielders in the game to return to a Phillies team that is still is looking to be the first club in over a half a century to represent the National League in the World Series three consecutive years in a row.

When Utley and Howard return to action though, they will join a team who is arguably playing their best baseball of the season, something that has been done without their usual contribution.

Don’t get me wrong; getting them back in their normal spots in the middle of the Phillies order and right side of the infield will only HELP this team. No one in his or her right mind with any credibility in the baseball world (not saying that I have any either) can deny that.

However, with Howard and Utley being activated to the active roster comes a move that will take away a big-league job two players who have made positive contributions to this team in the absence of the two superstars.

So, who will be moved to make room for Utley and Howard?

At this point of the season, especially with the addition of Mike Sweeney, consistency issues to the bullpen, and an influx of talent in the outfield, this will be a  very difficult decision for Charlie Manuel and company to make.

Just looking at the roster, it appears that a likely candidate for designation on the surface, Wilson Valdez, will stay this time around. Valdez, who has already been placed on waivers and designated for assignment on two separate occasions this year, is the now the only utility infielder on this roster (Juan Castro was released in late July). With Utley returning just 8 weeks removed from major surgery, and a questionable health status of both Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco, Valdez’s worth to this team is obvious when you acknowledge that he is a guy who can play those three positions (2B, SS, 3B) at a above-average level defensively in comparison to his big league counterparts.

If you think that’s farfetched, just look at his defensive stats.

For those who are most likely on the way out, one guy who sticks out right now is Domonic Brown.

If Domonic Brown is sent back down to the minors, it will only be a temporary move.

Yes, I said it before; it is possible that the decision to send him back to Triple-A will stunt his growth to becoming a formidable big-leaguer.

It still might.

But, with the rosters able to expand in just under two weeks (September 1st), sending Brown back for that duration of time to get everyday at-bats should be viewed and compared to a rehab stint rather than a demotion. If it were two months instead of two weeks I would think differently, but there is no question Brown, if sent back down now, will be back with the big league club at the end of the month.  Plus, Brown is one of the few players on the Phillies active roster that does not require to be placed on the waiver wire if he is involved in a move (has not been moved before and was already a member of the 40-man roster prior to the season). So, in this case, sending him back down without any roster consequences is undoubtedly a better move than designating a veteran player for assignment and losing him to a potential contender who has extra room on their roster.

Losing a talent like Brown for two weeks and possibly slightly delaying his transformation into a star is just a small price to pay at this point of the season, especially when you are chasing teams for a playoff berth instead of being chased.

In addition to this move, which will probably be made for whichever player (likely Utley) who makes his return first, a corresponding roster decision will have to be made for the second player (likely Howard) who is activated to the 25-man roster.

To make room for Ryan Howard, Greg Dobbs might be on his way out of Philly.

The latter of these moves is tricky. Again, after taking a gander at the roster, it looks that the Phillies will either have to designate a veteran, likely Greg Dobbs, for assignment and hope that he passes through waivers, or place someone on the disabled list until September 1st, where they can be activated without any corresponding roster move.

With that said, as most of you know, a team can’t place a guy on the disabled list if he, well, not disabled. Major League Baseball mandates a distinct medical process that determines if a player injury qualifies him for the DL, a process that severely limits teams from using this roster-exemption loophole.

However, the Phillies may be able to use this tactic with one of their own without being penalized. Ross Gload, who left last Tuesday’s game with the Dodgers with a groin strain, would be able to be placed on the disabled list without any repercussions due to the fact that he received an MRI that night that showed the extent of the injury that night.

The question is, do you want to risk losing the production Gload, who had been tearing the cover off the ball prior to his injury (9-for-24 in his last 10 games) for 15 days or until September 1st, just to keep a player like Dobbs, who has been ineffective for the majority of the season but has certain appeal to the Phillies and home fans due to his versatility and overall disposition, on board?

Once Chase Utley and Ryan Howard return to action, we have no other choice but to find out.

_____________________________________________________________

UPDATE ( Tuesday 2:50 pm)

According to Anthony Gargano of CBS Radio Philadelphia (610 WIP), Chase Utley has been activated from the disabled list. To make room for him on the 25-man roster, Greg Dobbs was designated for assignment.

An option brought up earlier in the post, this is now the second time he has been designated for assignment this season. For Dobbs, the next step is being placed on waivers, in which he will either be picked up by another team, or if he clears waivers without being picked up, will either be granted his release or most likely accept an assignment to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

For more Utley updates, follow Phillies Beat Writer David Murphy at the ballpark  here.

03
Aug
10

PHILLIES: Concern for Ryan Howard

The injury bug has been present all-season long in the Phillies clubhouse.

Want proof?

Chase Utley, Placido Polanco, Brad Lidge, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Raul Ibanez, Ryan Madson, Joe Blanton, Carlos Ruiz, Chad Durbin, J.C Romero, Brian Schneider, Antonio Bastardo and the recently departed J.A Happ have all already spent time on the disabled list.  That’s 14 disabled list casualties among the projected 25-man roster for this team at the beginning of the season. For some (Rollins, Victorino, Lidge), their individual stint has even turned into stint(s).

Pluralities are never good when talking about injuries.

However, with Utley and Victorino still on the DL, and Raul Ibanez dealing with a wrist injury, Philadelphia’s injury issues were put under an even greater microscope Sunday after slugger Ryan Howard sprained his ankle sliding into second base.

Ryan Howard's ankle injury is the most recent cause of concern regarding the Phillies.

For the Phillies, losing Howard for a long duration of time may affect the chemistry for this team more than any other injury this season. Bold statement aside, I am not questioning the value of Chase Utley or Jimmy Rollins to this team by ranking them under Howard in this comparison of order of importance. They are both all-star caliber players, and they obviously both have very important (and different) roles on this team. With that said, losing a guy who is involved in plating or scoring almost a quarter of the offense’s runs over the course of a season and is one of the biggest threats in baseball with what he can do with one swing of the bat would be absolutely detrimental to the Phillies playoff hopes is in 2010.

The good news?

Nothing’s broken. Howard’s MRI immediately following Sunday’s contest against the Nationals revealed no broken or fractured bones in his ankle, ruling out a possible surgical procedure that would lengthen a DL visit.

The bad news?

This injury, one that was earlier categorized as “a couple day thing” by manager Charlie Manuel on Sunday, may be more severe than we all, including the skipper, originally anticipated. After Howard left Nationals park on Sunday on crutches, it was announced late Monday night by MLB.COM’s Todd Zolecki that instead of traveling with the team to Florida for the Phillies series against the Marlins, Howard would be going to Philadelphia to meet with team doctors about the status of his ankle.

The scenario.

If the doctors conclude that he the condition of the ankle is improving, he’ll fly down to Florida himself, and rejoin the team (maybe not in a active role right away) on Wednesday. On the other side of the spectrum, if the pain and the swollen nature of the injury does not subside substantially (which it hasn’t as of late Monday night) in the next 12-24 hours, then it is very likely that Howard will end up on the 15-day DL, retroactive to Sunday, August 1st.

Sadly, my intuition tells me the ladder might for in store for the Phillies, which if you look at them right now, are a team that can ill-afford the reality of an injury like that to a player like Howard while being in the middle of a pennant race.

28
Jul
10

PHILLIES: Domonic Brown Promotion (Part 2)

“FOR YOUR PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES, BATTING SIXTH, STARTING IN RIGHT FIELD, NUMBER NINE, DOMONIC BROWNNNN.”

Getting chills just thinking about it.

After placing Shane Victorino on the 15-day DL because of a strained oblique, the move that has been anticipated for virtually the entire 2010 season was finally made.

” The Phillies have purchased the contract of OF Domonic Brown.”

Impact of Brown’s Promotion

OF Dom Brown's debut with the Phillies has arrived.

While I wish the move didn’t have to come at the expense of Shane Victorino, I’m never going to complain when the Phillies add a potential 5-tool player to their roster. As I said in my previous post, this may not be the best situation or timing for Brown to make his debut. The team is back in the middle of a pennant race, the pressure to produce in Philadelphia is at a all-time high, and the Phillies now have the added responsibility of figuring out Brown’s role on this team and in the clubhouse.

If they already didn’t have enough to worry about when they were just trying to acquire Roy Oswalt or another SP, a UTIL INF, or a lefty arm out of the bullpen..

But, whether we like it or not, the time has come. Calling Brown up now means he’s here for the long haul.

And by long haul, I mean more like years or decades rather than days or months.

Right now though, I’ll be the first one to admit that Brown’s promotion should be viewed as a saving grace of sorts. Until Shane Victorino comes back from his disabled list stint, it’s almost a certainty that Brown will assume the role as the everyday RF, which will give him a perfect opportunity to make his transition to the big leagues by getting regular at-bats. With Brown’s supreme talent, you won’t see much of a drop-off in production even with Victorino gone.

And that’s saying alot.

So, with Brown settled in RF, that means Jayson Werth, who barring a huge move, will remain a member of the Philadelphia Phillies for the rest of the season because of his explosive offensive ability and defensive versatility (can play all three OF positions), will move over to CF to account for the loss of the Flyin’ Hawaiian.

Once Victorino comes back though, that’s where the work begins, as it is unclear what the Phillies will do with Brown. There is no doubt that he will stay up in the big leagues, but Charlie Manuel may have to do a little shuffling to make sure that he does nothinder the growth of his beloved top prospect.

Here’s a potential proposal (Full Week, 7-Game Schedule).

Raul Ibanez (4 Games in LF), Shane Victorino (5 Games CF), Jayson Werth (4 Games RF, 2 Game CF), Domonic (3 Games RF, 1 Game LF), Ben Francisco (2 Game LF).

May not be completely accurate, but you can bet the Phillies do something like this. Keeping a 38-year old Raul Ibanez fresh and Victorino healthy as he gets off the disabled list is just as important of a process as giving Domonic Brown regular at-bats at this point.

A process that will start on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park when #9 steps onto the outfield grass as he debuts in Phillies red-pinstripes.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Oswalt + Other Trade Notes

: Since Jayson Werth will most likely stay in Philly for the remainder of the season, a deal for Roy Oswalt will have to include some combination of J.A Happ and top young prospects in order to get done. If a deal goes down though, I say it looks like this scenario.

Roy Oswalt to Philadelphia for J.A Happ and at least two of Vance Worley/Scott Mathieson/Anthony Gose/Jonathan Singleton.

: If the Phillies strike out (no pun intended) on Oswalt, here are two other names that seem hot right now as being linked to the Phillies. Chicago’s Ted Lilly and Cleveland’s Fausto Carmona.



28
Jul
10

PHILLIES: Impact of Injuries Overshadow Wins

So much for struggling.

Winners of their last six straight, the Philadelphia Phillies have cut the Atlanta Braves seven-game lead in the division last week right in half.

That’s right, 3.5 Games.

That deficit can be erased in a series, let alone two months, so to say that the Phillies are back to being contenders is an understatement.

With that said, recent injuries to SS Jimmy Rollins and OF Shane Victorino have overshadowed this recent win streak and enhanced the already strong rumors surrounding personnel changes in the home clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park.

First off, the Rollins injury.

With a negative MRI only showing a contusion after fouling a ball off his ankle, it doesn’t look like J-Roll will be out of the fold for long. A couple games, a week at most. But, with this being Jimmy’s 3rd relatively significant injury this season, along with 2B Chase Utley being out until September, the call for infield depth is growing by the day.

As much as people should appreciate what Wilson Valdez has done throughout the entire season, the honeymoon with him and the Phillies organization is over. At some point, you can’t deny the stats. Due to the fact that he’s hit .217 since June 28th (when he assumed a regular role as Utley’s replacement) and that he grounds into a double-play once 12.9 AB (a rate that is far and away tops in MLB), he really can’t fit into the Phillies equation as anything more than a above-average defensive or pinch-running substitution off the bench.

So who do the Phillies get?

Looking through the guys who have been subject to the majority of trade rumors, it seems like Baltimore SS Miguel Tejada may be the best fit. As former perennial all-star on the back end of his career who is tucked away on the roster of one of the worst teams in baseball, he might not sound all that intriguing. The truth of the matter is, his relatively cheap 2.5 million dollar salary for the remainder of the season along with his ability to play both positions on the left side of the infield are both extremely attractive. Plus, it doesn’t seem that it would take that much (maybe two MLB ready prospects) to pry him away from the Orioles organization, which is obviously in a rebuild mode and has two solid, young prospects in SS Robert Andino and 3B Josh Bell putting up great numbers in Triple-A Norfolk, waiting for an extended opportunity in the show.

If that doesn’t pan out, other guys who have been linked to the Phillies in recent weeks are Baltimore Orioles INF Ty Wigginton, Washington Nationals INF Christian Guzman, Arizona Diamondbacks 2B Kelly Johnson, Oakland Athletics SS Mark Ellis, and Seattle Mariners INF Felipe Lopez.

If Rollins does come back in a couple days though like he said he will, this is just a secondary issue.

Now onto something more pressing.

Shane’s injury.

Victorino’s injured oblique makes the OF situation for the Phillies very confusing. While an MRI will clear up some of those complications, the calls for bringing up uber-prospect Domonic Brown still have to be approaching a near endless volume.

Has his play deserved a promotion?

In one word, yes.

Is Werth here to stay?

But, for a young guy who figures to be a cornerstone in the Citizens Bank Park outfield grass for the next decade, I’m not sure that the Phillies front office will want to make his anticipated big league arrival a temporary one. If Brown is called up to fill up a roster-spot if Victorino takes an extended trip to bench and lands on the DL or assumes a partial starting role (See my A Sudden Surge post for a platoon proposition) if Jayson Werth is traded, then okay, that’s understandable.

However, if the injury to the Flyin’ Hawaiian is mild, and Jayson Werth remains in a Phillies uniform, then don’t be surprised if the Phillies make up for Victorino’s absence without calling up Brown. Right now, a Ben Francisco/Ross Gload Platoon in RF (Francisco against LHP, Gload against RHP) with Werth moving over to CF and calling up a guy with big league experience like John Mayberry Jr.  as an extra right-handed bat who can play both corner-outfield positions may be the proper move to keep atmosphere in the Phillies clubhouse a positive one.

Along those lines, even if it means holding back his rare talent, it may be the right decision to have Brown wait to make his first big league contribution until after September 1st when the rosters expand. That may seem crazy considering Brown’s hype, and all the speculation that has surrounded Werth’s alleged departure from Philadelphia over the last couple months, but at the end of the day, the goal for this team remains the same.

As Charlie Manuel mentioned Tuesday in an interview with the 610 WIP Midday Show crew of Glen Macnow and Anthony Gargano, that goal is to return to the World Series. Lofty, I know. The Phillies recent play of late though has indicated  that there is still somewhat of a possibility to return to that type of prominence, and losing a valuable offensive weapon like Werth to a trade combined with the losses to Rollins and Victorino could potentially cripple the momentum that has been built over the last week.

The trickle down effect of this.

Keeping Werth will mean a trade for Roy Oswalt is unlikely.

Yes, the Phillies could still obtain Oswalt in a package that includes something resembling J.A Happ, Vance Worley, and two top 10 prospects (Philadelphia Inquirer’s Bob Brookover repports that Anthony Gose and Jonathan Singleton may be on the Astros wish list), but something tells me Ruben Amaro won’t be too keen on giving up that much.

Especially for a pitcher with chronic back issues who wants a 16 million dollar option picked up in 2012 while sporting a 6-12 record this season.

While there is little doubt that Oswalt is better than his record indicates, there is also little doubt that if he’s not healthy now, odds are that he won’t be healthy when it is time to pay him that chunk of change either.

So, even if you are still calling for pitching help (as you should), just don’t forget that.




The Philly Phour

April 2017
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