The road to the rebuild isn't quick and easy. But the Phillies have some pieces to put in place and the sooner the better.
The Faithful is getting impatient and cranky.
There's some stuff the club needs to take care of between now and the July 31 trade deadline.
First there's Tommy Joseph. This wouldn't be a decision if the club didn't have a kid at Triple-A who can flat out hit. That would be Rhys Hoskins, who has pounded the ball at every level from Williamsport to Lehigh Valley. Besides having an impossible to pronounce first-name, this kid has "can't miss" all over him. Joseph, however, has become a solid-hitting first baseman.
One of them can't stay. Go ahead, you make the call. You want solid, or another Chase Utley?
By the way, it's pronounced, Reese. You're welcome.
Next is third base. Obviously, Maikel Franko is the team's number one underachiever, no doubt, on a team loaded with underachievers. I've said this before: For Franco to stick he's got to produce Scott Rolen numbers. Last season he was close, but he's fallen off. So do you dump him for what you can get or stick with him?
Be careful, the Franko decision is loaded. He could easily go somewhere and be an All-Star. I'll help you out by defining Scott Rolen's numbers: Consistently hitting 20-plus home runs and driving in close to 100 and hitting .280 or better — over a ten year period.
You're welcome, again.
Shortstop. J.P. Crawford, 22, has been the top-rated prospect in the Phillies system for the last several years. Who doesn't know that? Everybody knows that. But he's fallen on hard times. He's not simply in a slump, he 'just ain't hitting.' All season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley he's struggled at the Mendoza Line. Meanwhile, Freddy Galvis, 27, has turned into a top rated defensive shortstop and a decent hitter. He seems perfect for the number one or two hole. What's with Nava leading off, anyway? His career stolen base record is dismal.
So this one's easy. Let's watch Crawford at Triple-A and let Galvis get better.
I'll save you a decision at second base. The only question is how long will the club wait until they bring up Scott Kingery, 23. Or, for that matter, outfielder Ryan Cozens, 21? Combined, they have 40-plus home runs.
So here's what I think will happen. I mean, why write a blog if you can't make daring predictions.
Let Franco alone. Everybody has bad years.
Then before the July 31 trade deadline, the Phillies trade Tommy Joseph and Cameron Rupp. They should get something decent. They bring up Jorge Alfaro from Lehigh Valley and let him battle it out with Andrew Knapp. Bring up the wrecking-ball-trio: Hoskins, Kingery, and Cozens. While they're are at it, if he's healthy, bring up Roman Quinn.
With the recent addition of Nick Williams, and the quality play of Aaron Altherr, plus the hot dogging, wild swinging and erratic play of Odubel Herrera — and it hasn't anything to do with whether or not he can speak English — adding Cozens and Quinn would prove interesting.
Trade or release Howie Kendrick, Pat Neshek, Jeremy Hellickson, Dan Nava, and Joaquin Benoit. Rearrange the the bullpen and rotation, and give the Faithful something nice to deal with when the heat and humidity arrive.
Because you know this. As sure as an 110 loss season, it's coming.
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