Ron Costello

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Opportunity Opportunity Opportunity

From now until Monday, July 31, 4 p.m., it's a buyers and sellers market in MLB. The six teams with a shot at locking up their division — plus the additional teams chasing the four wild card spots — want to improve for the August and September home stretch. The teams that have fallen out and have no chance want to unload deadbeats and expensive players.

QVC couldn't have it better.

So how does this affect the Phillies, who are sitting in the NL East basement with the worse record in baseball and on track to lose 110 games? Geniuses — Klentak? MacPhail? Someone else? — put together a ridiculous roster made up of veteran one-year rentals and younger players having to prove whether or not they can play in the Show.

So the time for bullshit is over. No more rope-a-dope, no more treading water. Patience and 'let's wait and see' are out the door. I mean, the Sixers are printing 2018 playoff tickets, the Iggles Faithful are delirious in Wentzlvania, and the Flyers drafted a Russian who can actually stop the puck from turning on that little red light atop the Flyers' crease. Damn, that thing's annoying.

So what should the Phillies do in the QVC weeks ahead?

While the club hunts and pecks to sell, sell, sell, it should be pointed out that it's not so important about who they receive in a trade, but how much room they can open on the roster. Plus, maybe the geniuses can redeem themselves for putting a mess together. That said, let's get this thing started.

First, the obvious, the one-year rentals: Jeremy Hellickson, Pat Neshek, Howie Kendrick, Joaquin Benoit, and Dan Nava.

What say you, Ron? I say Hellickson and Neshek are gone. Kendrick is iffy because of his sore hammy, but if the club can get him in shape for the upcoming Houston series and he can hit and run, then he's gone, too. Mr. Uncloser Benoit? Maybe they can give him away. Nava may stay due to Aaron Altherr's recent hammy injury. Besides, Nava's hitting .297 which on the Phillies is akin to a vegan eating at the Prime Rib.

The second most obvious question is Tommy Joseph. There are teams that need a first baseman like Joseph, who has 15 home runs and is projected to hit 25-plus. Not bad for a guy who's played just under a full year in the Show. And here's another Joseph goodie. He's not eligible for arbitration until 2020, which salary wise means he's an indentured servant until then.

What say you, Ron? Lookit, the Yankees' first baseman — actually several of them — have been so bad, Joseph would feel like an icy breeze on a humid day. Besides, unlike the Phillies, the Yankees have a real shot at the AL East and the two AL wild cards. Moreover, the Phillies are desperate to bring up Rhys Hoskins.

Joseph is gone, gone, gone.

Odubel Herrera. The baseball purists would likely vote to dump him. He's too cocky — and if you're in the Mike Schmidt school of baseball, there's the English thing.

What say you, Ron? Herrera stays. He has too much potential. They didn't sign him to a five-year contract for nothing. Besides, Roberto Clemente use to mumble in Spanish whenever he circled the bases, which was a quite often.

Catcher Camaron Rupp and Cesar Hernandez. The team can't keep three catchers and three second baseman. Lately, Andrew Knapp has been catching more than Rupp. The club needs to call up catcher Jorge Alfaro, and with Scott Kingery on the Triple A doorstep, Hernandez is about as valuable as a Gimbels' credit card.

What say you, Ron? To make room for Alfaro, Rupp is a goner. Hernandez could stick if Kingery isn't ready. But if a good offer comes along for Hernandez they could move him.

Now here's Ron's Trifecta Move of the Day. A three-way deal. Are you ready?

Maikel Franco. If, like Ron, the club is starting to doubt Franco's potential, here's something they could do. My informants tell me that at Lehigh Valley Kingery has been taking infield at third. That can mean one of two things: The club is trying to scare Franco into hitting, or they want to see if Kingery can adapt to third.

What say you, Ron? If they find the right deal and can fill a need somewhere else on the roster, an infield of Kingery, J.P. Crawford, Freddy Galvis, and Rhy Hoskins isn't bad. The upside is, Kinkery hits better than Franco and, since he's a great defensive second baseman, he becomes a great defensive third baseman. The downside is Franco is unloaded and goes on to have a Hall of Fame career — somewhere else.

Wait, that's never happened to the Phillies, has it?

By the way, the Prime Rib at 17th and Locust is my favorite restaurant.

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