Ron Costello

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Stranger Things Have Happened

It would figure.

The veteran Phillies' icon Chase Utley soon comes off the DL, and Cesar Hernandez goes back on the bench. It would be typical for a club that has stuck its foot in the rebuilding tub, but hasn't done a belly-whopper.

Since spring training I've been calling for the infield of Franco, Galvis, Hernandez, and Ruf. As we speak it's there short one piece, the Big Piece. Howard's numbers say he will be traded to the American League by July 31.

But his other numbers — the numbers the register makes when it's opened, 'cha-ching' — say he'll be here for National Underwear Day, August 5 — 14 salami's be damned. Besides, along with the salami sandwich are 86 strikeouts and a dismal .218 average.

That's a few tremors  higher on the seismograph than his diamond mate. Chase Utley's .179 average and 4 high risers, which, for Mr. Utley, is  more of a passing breeze than an earthquake — is what it is.

Meanwhile, the 25 year old Hernandez is going about his business like a guy who's hungry and wants a permanent job. He might just play his way into one. That's usually how 20-somethings preform, although someone forgot to tell Domonic Brown that.

A club so far back it can't see the dust anymore can't afford to resort to old school mores, or conventional thinking that when a veteran goes on the DL — especially a well respected veteran like Utley — then returns, he get's his job back, period.

But times have changed in case you haven't noticed.

One field manager has been sacrificed — plunged on his own dagger before the shoe dropped — and a general manager, a Phillies blue blood if there ever was one, might follow at season's end.

Already we've seen a not so visible and aggressive part owner, John Middleton, introduce the new Phillies substitute president — another baseball blue blood if there ever was one — Andy MacPhail, who will hang around "observing," then  replace Pat Gillick, a baseball Hall of Fame blue blood himself,  as president at season's end.

With all the blue blood at CBP, it's a wonder the team is 28 games under .500, and 19 games behind the Nationals.

But  changes between the white lines are moving slower. Twenty-three days and change remain until teams in contention barter with those that aren't — also called buyers and sellers — to see if an addition or two could mean a post appearance. With two wild card slots to fill in each league, there's a healthy line up of buyers.

Maybe by National Underwear Day, I'll get my infield.

In Philadelphia, stranger things have happened.
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