Some Phillies Roster and Trade Notes


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Yes, there have been three big Phillies stories in the past 24 hours- J.P. Crawford to Reading, Cody Asche back to play left-field, and Grady Sizemore DFA’ed. You’ve heard about those by now probably though, and so I won’t bore you too much with those. Here’s a few other notes for you to ponder:

  • Cole Hamels threw eight wonderful innings in last night’s loss, surrendering two solo home runs too many to get a win. While Hamels fell to 5-4 on the season, his ERA dropped to 2.91, his WHIP fell to 1.09, and he has now struck out 76 batters in 74.1 innings. He’s on pace to throw 220 innings and put up numbers right on par with his recent seasons. Meanwhile in Red Sox nation, 22 year old Eduardo Rodriguez threw 7 2/3 innings in his MLB debut, baffling Texas and earning an unexpected second start. The Red Sox will throw six pitchers in their next rotation through, and the highly touted prospect will be one of them. On the one hand, the packed rotation might hurt Hamels’ stock with Boston. On the other, perhaps Rodriguez stock rising helps get a deal done. I’ve done a 180 on trading Cole to Boston, not because of a special love of the very top talent, but because of a serious interest in their depth. Rodriguez and Henry Owens are both pitchers I’d want, and the Phillies could definitely get one of them, plus other players of interest. Perhaps the tipping point of a deal could be reached soon, or perhaps Boston won’t see the need any longer. Either way, we’re almost into June now, and the point of a decision could be coming.
  • While Grady Sizemore could theoretically end up in Allentown, I don’t really see the point, myself. The IronPigs have a full house of an outfield at the moment, even with Cody Asche sent up to the big leagues again. Jordan Danks, Brian Bogusevic, and Dom Brown are all there, and I don’t see a ton of point to bumping one of them back to part time at-bats, even if Grady is willing to accept an assignment (logically for financial reasons). The Phillies have more than enough major league outfielders apparently, if they are DFA’ing Sizemore, and both Brown and Danks are 40 man guys that the Phillies could give a look at some point this season.
  • The Phillies really missed an opportunity to get a deal done with the Los Angeles Angels on Ben Revere, and the Mets swooped in and moved them an outfielder instead. While the two sides could revisit their previous talk, it’s not an immediate need for the Angels now. With Sizemore out, the likelihood of a quick Revere trade is now less, but it still makes a ton of sense. Even if you have totally given up on Dom Brown (which I would understand, since I have), moving either him or Danks up would open an outfield slot up in AAA to promote either Aaron Altherr or Roman Quinn later on this season. Both have played fairly well in AA, and a jump to AAA late in the season may be in order. If Revere isn’t in the future plans, there’s no sense having him take at-bats from players who are even on the margins of the plan (like Brown or Darin Ruf).
  • The current Phillies rotation is made up of two guys who are currently very tradable (Hamels and Harang), two guys who are easily replaced and forgotten (Williams and O’Sullivan), and a guy who hasn’t proven he belongs yet (Gonzalez). They have two injured starters (Lee and Billingsley) who seem to have chronic arm issues and at the very least don’t fit into the future, if not the present either. One would think that leaves lots of opportunity to break into the rotation, but you have to ask yourself who is taking it right now? The two 40 man roster members in AAA, Joely Rodriguez and Adam Morgan combine for a 2-9 record, and have ERA’s of 5.27 and 5.33 respectively. Neither throws enough strikes, much like Phillippe Aumont, the other constant in the AAA rotation. Aumont has walked 14 in his last two starts, and hit two batters. In other words, there isn’t much help ready to step in. It seems logical to think David Buchanan might get another look this year, but he’s going to be out the better part of two months with his ankle sprain, which might eliminate him from the 2015 picture.
  • So with such a woeful pitching picture in AAA and the majors, one might ask what is in Reading waiting. We’ve all read about Aaron Nola enough, and he’ll pitch later today for Reading and try to bounce back from his loss on Monday. My guess is that Nola will end up on the team come September, and probably goes to Allentown in around a month. After that, it’s been a roller-coaster. Zach Eflin has been really good overall, but got absolutely blasted in his start this week, seeing his ERA balloon into the mid-threes because of it. There’s a chance he gets up by the end of the season, but my sense is that he’s a little behind Nola, and his real timeline is probably more like next season. Ben Lively has been fairly solid on the season, but definitely seems like a “next season” case. Tom Windle is pitching a little better now, but is definitely where he belongs in AA for this season. Then there’s Jesse Biddle, who came out hot, went mediocre, then stunk enough to miss a turn to work on mechanics. Biddle made his return this week, and threw five solid innings, surrendering just one earned run, and walking only two. This would appear to be progress, and really any progress could push Biddle up the ladder at some point this year. Nola is the only guy in this group that I think is a lock to see Philadelphia by the season’s end, but clearly there is room for more.
  • With Sizemore’s DFA’ing, the Phillies now have two vacant 40 man slots. If you believe Nola is coming up at some point, he will need one of them. One would have to imagine the next guy on the 25 man roster who’s in danger of losing his job at some point is Jeff Francoeur, though that would not seem to be a total lock. Andres Blanco could be an option, Darin Ruf has at least an option, and Revere could of course get dealt. Some notable prospects without a 40 man slot besides Nola are Eflin, Lively, Roman Quinn, and J.P. Crawford, though i’d be shocked to see any of them get a spot any time soon. It’s also important to note that it’s unlikely that Tommy Joseph will hold onto his 40 man slot beyond September 1st. With his latest concussion, catching would seem to be a non-option for him, and would mean that even if he came back, he is no longer a prospect the Phillies would be protecting moving forward. I think Ethan Martin is safe, for now, but will have to come back and show health and ability at some point this season.
  • Beyond this, there are several on the horizon roster issues worth noting. First off, 40 man member Hector Neris has not only not succeeded in Philadelphia yet, his ERA in AAA is nearly five. One would have to think that Seth Rosin (of the Hunter Pence deal with San Francisico, 1-1, 1.93 ERA, 2 saves, 4 holds, in 28 innings) and Cesar Jimenez (1-3, 2.63 ERA, 4 saves, 5 holds, in 24 innings) would be candidates to take his job, as could be Dustin McGowan if the Phillies decide to bring him back up later (He’s got 3 saves and a zero ERA in five games in AAA). One could also think that Chase d’Arnaud (.316 average as a versatile infielder) and Brian Bogusevic (.322 average, .825 OPS) could end up turning enough heads to warrant a look later on if they keep up their play.
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