Earlier today, the Phillies announced that left-handed pitcher Brad Hand has been placed on the 15-Day Injured List. Hand, who has been a crucial part of the bullpen all summer long, is heading to the IL with what is being called elbow tendinitis. To replace the veteran on the expanded 28-man roster, another veteran, Chris Devenski has been selected from AAA Lehigh Valley. Devenski, still just 31 years of age, played a key role for the Astros during their 2017 Championship season pitching in relief.
Phillies manager Rob Thomson is hoping Devenski can make an impact down the stretch for the Phitins as well. Although I am beyond disappointed Hand will miss a sizeable amount of time, I am confident his absence may create an opportunity for Devenski to revitalize his career. He -Devenski- struggled mightily in his most recent MLB stint with Arizona earlier this year, but I am optimistic his luck can change in Philadelphia. He has pitched in big games before, and I feel a change of scenery could do him well.
To make room on the 40-man roster, infielder Johan Camargo has been DFA’d by the organization. Camargo, who started the year with the Phillies, has struggled offensively with the IronPigs since his demotion to the minor leagues. With that being said, his strong glove work paired with his defensive versatility may very well make him a target on the waiver wire, should another club be interested in his services.
In other injury news, it appears Nick Castellanos may be back on the field sooner rather than later. The slugger, who has been sidelined in recent weeks with an oblique injury, is eyeing up the Cubs series as a potential return to the lineup. The Phillies will begin their final road trip of the regular season in Chicago at Wrigley Field on Tuesday.
Zack Wheeler is in the 3rd year of a 5 year, $118 million deal he inked with the Phillies before the 2020 season. So far, he has lived up to the contract. His 2020 campaign, like countless others, was cut short due to the pandemic. 2021 featured a 2nd place finish in the NL CY Young race. 2022? Well, when healthy, Wheeler has been one of the team’s best starting pitchers.
So far, in 23 starts, Zack holds an 11-7 record with a 3.08 ERA. On the year, Wheeler has struck out 148 batters. He has limited baserunners in a variety of ways and is keeping the Phillies in ballgames more times than not. I can not explain how thrilled I am that Wheeler is back, healthy, and ready to go.
Wheeler’s teammate in New York, Noah Syndergaard was moved to the bullpen to create a spot in the rotation. Although some around the industry were surprised it was “Thor” who was bumped from the starting staff and not southpaw Bailey Falter, the Phillies would be foolish to remove Falter, who has been throwing the ball well. Falter is expected to start Saturday’s game at CBP vs the Braves.
Before the Phitins can begin to think about beating the Bravos this weekend, they have to take care of business tonight against the Blue Jays. To make room on the expanded 28-man roster, the club announced that right-hander Sam Coonrod has been optioned to AAA Lehigh Valley. Although I am a fan of Coonrod, it appears he may be the odd man out, at least for the time being. The former Giant -Coonrod- threw in last night’s ballgame, and loaded the bases in the 8th without recording a single out.
If the Phillies are going to get back to the Postseason for the 1st time since 2011, they are going to need their rotation to step up. After tonight’s game, Ranger Suárez and Aaron Nola are slated to start Thursday, and Friday at home, respectively. The bullpen needs to be held accountable as well.
Although Kyle Gibson was charged with the loss, giving up 7 earned runs in last night’s 18-11 defeat, Phillies relievers, along with the help from the defense, combined to give up 11 more runs in a game the Phillies should have won. The only pitcher to not allow a run, both earned and unearned, in last night’s contest was backup catcher Garrett Stubbs… Not a great sign for a team that has lost 5 consecutive games. The Phillies will look to snap their 5 game losing streak tonight and will hope to avoid the sweep against a potent Toronto offense.
Up the North East Extension of the PA Turnpike, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs are getting ready to conclude their regular season schedule. The Pigs, managed by first-year skipper Anthony Contreras have had a very successful season, playing above .500 ball. The team has continued to play well despite many of their regulars getting the call to help support the big league club. For instance, Dalton Guthrie, Nick Maton, and Bryson Stott have all logged ABs in Allentown, and are now making contributions in Philadelphia.
This poses an interesting question: With the Phitins in sole possession of the 2nd NL Wild Card spot, and with just 18 regular season games remaining, who else may get the call from AAA? Furthermore, what names should the Phillies consider with time ticking on a potential postseason birth? A RED OCTOBER is upon us, and some names in Lehigh Valley can help us get there. Without further ado, let’s dive in…
Hans Crouse (RHP) – Acquired by the Phillies from the Rangers in the Kyle Gibson trade, Hans Crouse has spent the majority of his 2022 campaign on the Injured List. The 6’4” right-hander is a young live arm with plus stuff on the bump and could pitch in a variety of roles if called upon. When healthy, he could very well have a positive impact on the rest of the pitching staff. I would not rush Crouse back, especially if it meant putting his health in jeopardy… long-term > short-term benefits. With that being said, if he is ready to go, I feel his presence on the mound would be beneficial to the ball club.
Chris Devenski (RHP) – Devenski, a World Series winner with the Astros in 2017, is a veteran with a proven track record of pitching late in ballgames. Many believe his best days may be behind him, but I would never bet against him. A 25th-round pick of the Chicago White Sox in 2011, Devenski debuted with Houston in 2016 and pitched in the big leagues this season with the Arizona Diamondbacks. His experience would most definitely come in handy should another injury arise in the bullpen. If the 31-year-old were to get the call, Devenski could give Phillies manager Rob Thomson another arm to deploy in the backend of the bullpen.
Francisco Morales (RHP) – The 2022 season has turned out to be quite eventful for the Venezuelan-born right-hander. Thus far during this calendar year, Morales has made his MLB debut, logged his first MLB strikeout, and recorded his first big league save. Once considered one of the top prospect arms in the Phillies organization, the 22-year-old has a bright future ahead of him. Regardless of whether Morales finds his way back to the City of Brotherly Love in 2022, I expect him to have a place on this team moving forward.
Johan Camargo (INF) – A native of Panama City, Panama, Camargo won a World Series as a member of the Braves organization last year in 2021. The Phillies are hoping he can get another ring in 2022. The switch-hitter has not exactly set the world on fire since his demotion to the minors, batting under the Mendoza-Line in AAA, however, he is a versatile defender with experience fielding all four infield positions. With injuries to both Rhys Hoskins and Edmundo Sosa, Camargo could find his way back to the big league club. Camargo is still a member of the 40-man roster.
Darick Hall (1B) – Before being sent back to Lehigh Valley to receive more ABs, “Long Ball Hall” played a big role on the 2022 Phillies. A 14th-round selection in the 2016 MLB Draft, Hall has continued to swing a hot bat in AAA, and his power surge has continued at the dish. Hopefully, Rhys Hoskins will not be on the shelf for long, but regardless of how much time “Rhys Lightning” may miss, Hall should be a candidate to get a call back to the big leagues. We could use his power from the left-hand side during the stretch run either in the starting lineup or off the bench.
Rafael Marchan (C) – Marchan, still just 23 years of age, made headlines during the pandemic-shortened season when he slugged his first professional home run at Citizens Bank Park in September of 2020. The past few seasons, the switch-hitter has spent the majority of his time in the minor leagues finetuning his game, working on his swing, and building a rapport with our young arms down on the farm. It may be unlikely the Phillies add a fourth catcher behind Realmuto, Stubbs, and Sands for the stretch run. However, if they did for whatever reason – being extra depth, injury, etc.- Marchan would be the clear front runner.
According to Phillies Interim Manager Rob Thomson, a 2022 return for veteran starter Zach Eflin is not out of the question. Eflin has been on the Injured List since late June with what has been described as a right knee bruise. Although the front office was able to acquire Noah Syndergaard at the trade deadline, adding Eflin back to the starting rotation would be a breath of fresh air to the pitching staff.
In recent weeks, the team has placed both right-handers Zack Wheeler and Seranthony Dominquez on the injured list. Both pitchers are expected to return at some point during the stretch run. Corey Knebel was also moved to the 60 Day IL, however, it appears Knebel has thrown his last pitch of the 2022 season. He had to shut it down with a bad shoulder, and the bullpen will surely miss his production in the back end.
Adding Eflin back to the pitching staff would allow the Phillies to move a starter or two to the bullpen, strengthening their depth for a potential trip to October. Left-handers Ranger Saurez and Bailey Falter both have experience pitching out of the bullpen and could be moved to relief rolls once Wheeler/Eflin return to the starting staff. The Phillies may also elect to use Eflin out of the bullpen, which they did for a short time in late 2019.
It is safe to assume the 2022 staff that Rob Thomson has to work with is much deeper than the staff Gabe Kapler was given in 2019. For instance, although Aaron Nola is still around having another great season, the 2019 rotation did not have the likes of Kyle Gibson, Noah Syndergaard, and Zack Wheeler. If the Phillies were to get back to the postseason for the first time since 2011, the same year Charlie Manuel had the luxury of having “4-aces”, then the pitching staff will most certainly need to get healthy, and the team will need to play to their new found depth on the mound.
When I started my @Phillies.GM account on Instagram over three years ago (Spring of 2019), one of the goals I had was to further educate myself, and educate others, about the Phillies minor league system and prospects that make up their minor league affiliates. Unfortunately, in the year 2020, all of Minor League Baseball was lost due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Many of these prospects lost a year of development without playing affiliated baseball. However, after looking at the impact some of our homegrown talent has had on the 2022 Phillies, it appears our farm system is finally starting to turn a corner. It almost seems as if the year off of organized baseball may have helped some of our young guys. Position players such as Darick Hall, Nick Maton, and Matt Vierling have all played a crucial role.
Turning the page to the rest of 2022, 2023, and beyond, it appears the Phillies farm system is now speared by a pair of high school first round pitchers that could be closer to the big leagues than we think…
Led by righthanders Mick Abel & Andrew Painter, I have updated my Phillies.GM Prospect Rankings, and what a time for it! It has been over three years, (August 6th, 2019), since the last time I updated the list, and a lot has changed over a three-year period. If you do not believe me, consider the following… Four of the five prospects I gave a profile to have already debuted in the big leagues. I look forward to giving more prospect profiles in the near future. Without further ado, here is my updated Phillies.GM Prospect Rankings! Enjoy!
Phillies.GM Prospect Rankings August 27th, 2022 (#) = mlb.com ranking
Following Tuesday Nights win over Cincinnati, Phillies outfielder Brandon Marsh got an MRI which thankfully revealed no structural damage to his injured left knee/leg. Although the Phillies are fortunate Marsh may return to the field some time soon -The same case with reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper- the teams outfield depth is currently in question…
Simon Muzziotti, another left handed hitting centerfielder who had a cup of coffee with the team earlier this season, was shut down for the remainder of the 2022 campaign. Muzziotti is dealing with a knee injury of his own, and the Phillies would rather be safe than sorry when it comes to the health of their younger players. Odubel Herrera, Oscar Mercado, Mickey Moniak, and Roman Quinn, four more outfielders that have spent time with the Phillies this season, are no longer with the organization. Adam Haseley, who was with the club in spring training, was dealt before Opening Day. Depth in the outfield for the Fightins’ has been a question all summer long.
Nick Maton, an infielder by trade, was asked to play leftfield this past week versus the Reds, and he looked like he could play the position in a pinch when needed. Interim Manager Rob Thomson agreed, and stated he would be willing to use him (Maton) in the outfield again when necessary. However, for a team that went over the luxury tax this winter, another move appeared imminent following the decision to place Marsh on the Injured List…. Phillies fans, let’s get to know our newest outfielder, Bradley Zimmer. Zimmer has been claimed of the waiver wire from the Blue Jays.
Zimmer, a first round pick of the Cleveland Guardians organization back in 2014, made the big leagues with Clevland but never lived up to his first round potential. While with Clevland, Zimmer was a teammate of the aforementioned Oscar Mercado, and often matched up against his younger brother Kyle (Zimmer), who had a lengthy stint with the Kansas City Royals. Bradley Zimmer is a career .214 hitter, with 41 stolen bases to his name.
A left handed hitter, Zimmer tied his career high in home runs (8) last season, and has spent this season with the Blue Jays. In limited AB’s this year, 76 to be exact, Zimmer has hit a dismal .105, and has struck out 33 times. At 6’4”, Zimmer is a big dude and has a lot of pop in his bat. When he makes contact with the ball, it is going to go a long way. With that being said, there are definitely some holes in his swing, so it will be up to the Phillies to try and get the slugger back on track.
Matt Vierling, a right handed hitter, should still see a fair share of time in the outfield, especially centerfield, even after adding Zimmer. Vierling also has experience playing in the infield, but with the addition of Edmundo Sosa and the return of Jean Segura, it appears the team is committed to keeping Vierling in the outfield, at least for the time being.
Two more names to remember down in Triple-A are Johan Camargo, and Yario Munoz. Both Camargo and Munoz are viewed primarily as infielders, however, both players have experience as defenders in the outfield. Scott Kingery is another name to keep in the back of our minds. “Scotty JetPax” has been used primarily as an infielder this season with Lehigh Valley, but has logged some time in Center Field at Citizens Bank Park in the past. If anything, Kingery is a fan favorite and could provide some speed and versatility off the bench down the stretch, should the front office choose to go that route.
Didi Gregorius, who was in the final year of his two year contract with the Phillies this season, was released this afternoon, the team announced. His roster spot was needed for the return of another veteran infielder, 2nd Baseman Jean Segura. Segura, who had been out since early June with a finger injury, returned off the Injured List Thursday.
With the departure of Gregorius, rookie Bryson Stott is expected to get the majority of the AB’s at shortstop. Should the left-handed hitter need a day off, Phillies manager Rob Thomson could insert either Yario Munoz or the newly acquired Edmundo Sosa to the position. With that being said, if I had the lineup card on a day to day basis, I would continue to ride the hot hand.
Defense in the infield should remain a top priority as well. Alec Bohm has improved mightily at the hot corner, however the Phillies have another 3rd Baseman on the 40-man roster in Johan Camargo, who is viewed as a stronger defensive option. Although the longtime Atlanta Brave is currently with Triple A Lehigh Valley, he is someone worth considering when constructing the roster for September, and a potential postseason run.
Bohm had an amazing month of July and is consistently hitting at the top of the Phillies batting order, something Segura did before he suffered the injury. The Phillies should be cautious with Segura now that he is back, especially now that the club has the depth to sustain a bump in the road. Sosa, Munoz, and even Matt Vierling, who has spent the majority of his time in the outfield, have seen time at 2nd base this season.
Nick Maton is another name to keep in the back of our minds. Maton has been playing in Lehigh Valley with Segura and Camargo, rehabbing an injury of his own. The Phillies have a ton of depth in their infield, and that is a huge reason why the organization was okay with letting Didi go before his contract was up. Despite serving as a leader in the clubhouse off the field, the Phillies simply needed more production on the field.
When Dave Dombrowski and company woke up this morning, the landscape of the MLB, particularly the make up of the National League, looked much different. Young phenom Juan Soto and slugger Josh Bell were both members of the Washington Nationals, and have since been dealt to Padres. In that same trade, Luke Voit –and multiple prospects– were sent back to D.C. Another power threat, Joey Gallo, was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers from the Yankees.
The Brewers, another team in the NL Playoff Mix, restructured their bullpen. Although they sent 2022 NL saves leader Josh Hader away to San Diego, Milwaukee has added both Taylor Rogers (2nd in the NL in saves), and former all-star Trevor Rosenthal to a mix that already included 2020 Rookie of the Year Award winner Devin Williams.
The Cardinals bolstered their rotation, adding southpaws Jordan Montgomery and Jose Quintana. Both the Mets and Braves were active today as well, making multiple transactions each. Teams across the league are gearing up for a run to October. The NL Wild Card Race is about to get very interesting…
So what did the Phillies do? Aside from adding infielder Edmundo Sosa from the Cardinals via trade a few days earlier, the team announced they have DFA’d both outfielder Odubel Herrera and right handed pitcher Jeurys Familia. The two were designated for assignment to make room for the following players:
Trade #1: Phillies acquire Brandon Marsh (OF) from Angels in exchange for Logan O’Hoppe (C)
Trade #2: Phillies acquire David Robertson (RHP) from Cubs in exchange for Ben Brown (RHP)
Trade #3: Phillies acquire Noah Syndergaard (RHP) from Angels in exchange for Mickey Moniak (OF) and Jadiel Sanchez (OF)
Let’s break it down:
Trade #1: Logan O’Hoppe appeared in the Futures Game over the 2022 All Star Break in Los Angeles, and cracked the MLB Top 100 Prospect List for the first time this year as well. With that being said, Realmuto is still under contract after this year for two more seasons, and the Phillies were in desperate need of a centerfielder. Marsh has plus speed, is a well above average defender at all 3 outfield spots, and can also help us past this year. It sucks to lose O’Hoppe, but there is a reason we made the trade. Grade: B
Trade #2: Ben Brown has emerged on the scene as an intriguing right-handed pitching prospect this season, but David Robertson will serve as a very fine addition to our bullpen. The long time Yankee veteran pitched at Citizens Bank Park as a member of the Phillies in 2019, and given that he (Robertson) was on a contract year, a reunion made sense for both parties. Grade: B+
Trade #3: “Thor”, when healthy, has been dominant on the mound. We have seen glimpses of his stuff first hand when he was a member of the Mets. It hurts to see Moniak go, but he will return home to play in Southern California–where he grew up– and will have a second chance at big league success. Moniak may even play next to Mike Trout. I don’t know much about the other outfield prospect we gave up, but what I do know is this trade could work out beautifully for the Phillies. We have some horses to get us to the playoffs, and the horses to do some damage in October. Great job Phillies Front Office. Well done. Grade: A
To create another spot on the 40-man roster, RHP Zach Eflin has been transferred to the 60-Day Injured List. LHP Andrew Vasquez has also been claimed off the waiver wire. He will report to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
The newest Phillies infielder, Edmundo Sosa, had a breakout year with the Cardinals in 2021. He played well enough to spell longtime St. Louis shortstop, Paul DeJong, of a starting role with the team and played close to a full season in the big leagues for the first time in his career.
Still just 26 years of age and viewed as a strong defender at multiple infield positions, Sosa is looking to spell another longtime shortstop for the second consecutive season. This season, the Phillies have primarily used Didi Gregorius, when healthy, at the position. The results? The results have not been promising.
Gregorius, who has struggled tremendously at the plate over the past month, could be the odd man out once Jean Segura makes his expected return off the Injured List in the coming days. Johan Camargo, who has dealt with his fair share of injuries as well, was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley for the time being. Two more position players to consider as the Phillies juggle their roster are Yario Munoz and Odubel Herrera.
It is worth noting that Sosa is out of options to the minor leagues, so his spot on the MLB club is safe. Although he has struggled offensively this season, it would be foolish for the Phillies to acquire a player, just to see that same player get DFA’d after one AB with the team…
Munoz, a former teammate of Sosa in the Cardinals organization, may not have the offensive upside that Sosa has, but plays many of the same positions as Sosa. Munoz also has experience defensively as an outfielder. Herrera, who was called out by manager Rob Thomson after Thursday Nights win against the Pirates for another base running debacle, could be on the way out as well if the team decides to add an outfield bat ahead of the deadline. Herrera, who is one of the longest-tenured, if not the longest-tenured members of the team, has to set a better example. I am happy “Philly Rob” called him out for lack of hustle.
What about Bryson Stott??
He is NOT going anywhere. No need to panic Phillies fans. I would not expect the team to cut back his AB’s, especially if he continues to swing a hot bat, and continues to rack up clutch hits.
I was a big fan of Jo-Jo Romero (LHP) as a prospect in the Phillies system when he was working his way through the minor leagues. Even coming off a Tommy John Surgery, I felt he could have had a place on this team in the future. With that being said, Philadelphia knows they have a chance to capture a Postseason Birth for the first time since 2011, when they were knocked out of the Playoffs by… The St. Louis Cardinals. Like many, I am hoping this will be the year the Phillies get back to the Postseason. The future is now.
When the Phillies fired Joe Girardi on June 3rd, the team had a dismal 22-29 record. Jean Segura, one of the club’s best hitters the first two months of the season, had just broken his finger a few days earlier. It appeared the club with the longest postseason drought in the National League was well on its way to another finish out of the playoffs. Regardless of injury, with the implementation of the extra wild card spot in each league and the amount of money the front office spent in the offseason (Castellanos, Schwarber, Bullpen, etc.), this would come as a huge disappointment.
One would like to think the wheels would continue to fall off, but the Rob Thomson wagon hasn’t gone off course. The rookie manager and longtime bench coach of Joe Girardi had the team playing winning baseball in no time, and by the end of the first half, the Phillies are 6 games over the .500 mark with a 49-43 record. You heard that right. That’s why I love baseball. Anything can happen in America’s Pastime.
Did I mention Bryce Harper hasn’t played in 3 weeks? Anyway, Bryce is a baseball warrior, and mark my words, he will be back at some point in 2022. The Phillies need to do everything in their power to make sure his return will include a playoff birth. So what can they do to make that happen?
There is this old theory that goes, “You can never have enough pitching”, and the Phillies front office should invest in this style of thinking. The bullpen, for one, could use another late-inning reliever to help lock down the end of ballgames. The rotation should be a point of emphasis as well, especially with Zach Eflin’s injury history, and the in-house depth options lacking.
With that being said, here are five pitchers the Phillies should consider heading into the 2022 trade deadline. Let’s break it down:
Andrew Chafin: Chafin has spent the majority of his career pitching in the National League with the DiamondBacks. After signing with Detroit this past winter, it appears he could be someone the Tigers look to move, should they look to sell at the deadline. They are playing well under the .500 mark, so the southpaw may look to opt out after this year should a better opportunity present itself. The man many baseball fans know as “Big Country”, had put together a very nice season.
Mychal Givens: Givens is someone I have had an interest in since he pitched in the backend of the Orioles bullpen in the late 2010s. This season he is with the Chicago Cubs, another team that could look to sell come late July, or even sooner. In my opinion, why wait to add another bullpen arm if the opportunity presents itself? Givens would be easier to acquire than Chafin, considering he signed just a 1-year contract. Like Chafin, Givens has had a strong 2022 campaign.
Mike Minor: Unlike the previous two names mentioned, Minor is a starting pitcher and is having a disastrous 2022 campaign by his career standards. To put it in perspective, the 11-year veteran has a career ERA of 4.18. This season with the Reds, Minor has an ERA north of 6 and holds a 1-6 record in 8 starts. The lefty could be an arm to buy low on, and I would be open to trying him out in the bullpen. He had great success in the bullpen with Kansas City earlier in his career. He is also a former teammate of Kyle Gibson. A trade could make sense for both parties.
Aaron Loup: Loup had a brief stint with the Phillies in Gabe Kapler’s first year as Phillies manager in 2018. Rob Thomson, now a first-year skipper in his own right, would sure appreciate having the leverage of another left-handed veteran option out of the back end of the bullpen. Although Loup has regressed in 2022 with the Angles, he performed great last year when called upon with the Mets. His Angels teammate Archie Bradley is also someone I would consider bringing back to pitch in relief, however, his most recent trip to the injured list put an end to that idea.
Martin Perez: Perez threw in yesterday’s midsummer classic and is a first-time all-star this season. He returned to Texas where he debuted back in 2012 this past offseason, and his command on the mound looks better than ever before. The Phillies and Rangers have a trade history as well from Michael Young, to Cole Hamels, to Kyle Gibson, so the two organizations have always been able to work something out. This is especially the case since Jon Daniels took over as Rangers GM at the young age of 28 in December of 2005.
To put this all in perspective, before the 2009 season, Daniels helped orchestrate a trade that sent John Mayberry Jr. to the Phillies organization for outfielder Greg Golson. At the time of the trade, then Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. stated he was looking to make a speed for power swap regarding outfielders. 2 years later in 2011, Mayberry hit a career-high 15 home runs to help the Phillies win a franchise-best 102 games. The team has not made the playoffs since.
A huge reason the Phillies have not broken this drought is that their pitching depth, or lack thereof, has come back to haunt them. The pitching staff should be addressed so history does not repeat itself. I still have nightmares thinking about some of the names that made up our Opening Day 2020 bullpen…
Stay tuned for Part 2 in the coming days where we will look at 5 position players the Phillies should consider before August 2nd’s MLB trade deadline.