Phillies Mailbag: Cameron Rupp, Cody Asche and Adam Morgan
Once again it is time for the weekly Phillies mailbag. We answer your questions here and then answer them on The Sports Bash with Mike Gill every Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. Feel free to ask a question at any time during the week by sending a tweet to @FrankKlose973.
Who will replace Cameron Rupp if he misses time due to an injury?
One of the unfortunate side effects of the dramatic Phillies victory on Saturday night was that catcher Cameron Rupp may have injured himself during his collision with Reds infielder Eugenio Suarez. While many worried about Rupp's head and a potential concussion, Rupp's leg took the brunt of the collision, as he told The Inquirer's Matt Gelb. Gelb reports that Rupp had two concussion tests and passed. But, Rupp's leg could be an issue.
Carlos Ruiz played on Sunday, but if Rupp needs to miss another day or two, the Phillies may have to reach into the minor leagues to get a catcher, bringing about the question as to who could join the Phillies.
J.P. Arencibia was the player the Phillies signed to be veteran insurance at AAA Lehigh Valley. However, the Phillies just granted Arencibia his release. Gabriel Lino is likely to move back up in the Phillies system, but adding someone like Lino would require a 40-man roster spot be opened up.
Emmanuel Burriss has been an offensive disappointment for the Phillies. After a hit on Sunday, Burriss is batting just .107 in 28 at bats. Though he is used sparingly, the Phillies were keeping Burriss around for defensive insurance. They can get that from someone at AAA who is already on the 40-man roster.
Acquired on waivers this offseason from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Taylor Featherston is hitting pretty well at AAA Lehigh Valley. Batting .298 with three home runs and eight runs batted in, it is not really hard to believe that Featherston can provide the Phillies what Burriss is at the moment. Featherston was a Rule 5 pick of the Angels last season and batted just .162. But, Featherston is on the 40-man roster. Promoting him and designating Burriss for assignment would save a roster spot.
If Cody Asche is ready soon, Burriss could be designated for assignment and Asche assumes his roster spot on the 25-man roster, opening up a 40-man spot for Lino.
If the Phillies expect Rupp to only be out a few days, the team could promote catcher Jorge Alfaro but use him sparingly. Alfaro is on the 40-man roster, and while a promotion is not ideal right now, they quickly could ship him back to the minors without shuffling the roster. The Phillies did the same with Aaron Altherr before his appointed time in 2014 when Tony Gwynn Jr. needed to tend to the loss of his father. Carlos Ruiz could catch for a few days in a row while Alfaro sits.
How soon until Cody Asche returns? What roster move will they make?
The return of Cody Asche is getting close. Asche has two games and seven at bats under his belt at Class A Clearwater thus far, and has two hits, including a home run and two runs batted in, both taking place on Sunday. If Asche plays a couple more days and feels comfortable with his oblique, we could see him early this week.
The Phillies have two potential moves they could make. One would be treating Asche as a left-handed outfielder, and another would be to treat Asche has a potential backup infielder. The Phillies really like using Andres Blanco as a pinch-hitter due to his offensive output, but that means the team needs another infielder at their disposal.
The aforementioned Burriss could be let go and Asche serve as an infield-outfield swingman. While Lough is not hitting the cover off of the ball (he is batting .245) that's a stronger offensive output than other players on the Phillies roster right now.
Another reason to keep Lough is that he is out of options and cannot be sent to the minor leagues. The Phillies may want to keep that depth in the outfield should the team lose another outfielder. That would almost force the Phillies to bring up a prospect they are not ready for.
How much longer do the Phillies give Adam Morgan before bringing someone else up?
Adam Morgan had a rough start on Sunday. The worst of the day was walking Reds pitcher Dan Straily with the bases loaded, after intentionally walking the number eight hitter just moments before. Morgan could not finish the fourth inning and gave up seven earned runs.
That said, it is very premature to make a move with Morgan. We must remember that the start right before this one against the Reds Morgan pitched seven innings of one-run ball against the Atlanta Braves. Morgan is still young and will have his good days and his bad days.
As we discussed earlier, there is a 40-man roster crunch as it is, and adding either Zach Eflin or Mark Appel would require an additional move. David Buchanan and Alec Asher are options on the 40-man roster already, but the team might want to wait until they are forced to bring either of them up.
While Morgan will have some down starts, he will put together some good ones. 2016 is about the rebuild and the Phillies will have to see what they have in Morgan for the future. Just four starts in, that is not enough for the Phillies to see.