Phillies Mailbag: No Way, Jose? Rotation, September Call-Ups
We are back once again with the 97.3 ESPN Phillies mailbag. Send your questions to the 97.3 ESPN text board at 609-403-0973 or send them to @FrankKlose on Twitter. Each week on Tuesday afternoon we answer your questions on the air during the Sports Bash with Mike Gill.
Why would the Phillies want Jose Bautista? He's not even hitting .200 this year?
The Phillies have been busy in recent days placing waiver claims on a number of players. Phillies general manager Matt Klentak mentioned that the team has been doing so on a number of players. More often than not, the team with the player on waivers pulls the player back. But the claim on Jose Bautista might get done.
The Phillies offense continues to have moments of struggle and the hope is that a veteran Bautista would give them more in a high-pressure situation than a rookie might. Right now the best right-handed pinch hitter the Phillies have is Andrew Knapp and when he is not starting, Scott Kingery.
Both players have had big hits in the past, but Kingery is likely needed for his speed or defense more than the at bat. With an expanded roster in September, the Phillies are likely to use many players throughout the course of the game and I would imagine be more likely to pinch hit for their lower-tier starters early.
So if the deal gets done, Bautista will not cost the team much of anything and we will likely see him as a pinch hitter batting against a left-handed pitcher. The opposition likes to have their lefties ready for the Phillies. Having a right-handed bat with experience might help the cause.
What will the Phillies do when Jerad Eickhoff returns? Will he replace a starter?
The Phillies appear to finally be getting starting pitcher Jerad Eickhoff back after a long battle with injury. Eickhoff made two rehab starts and appears ready to return to the Phillies. But as of now, he will not be in the starting rotation.
Eickhoff was lined up with Nick Pivetta but Pivetta will start on August 31, one day before the rosters expand on September 1. The Phillies said that Eickhoff will return to the team on September 1. However, he will be a reliever who can pitch on a long basis if necessary as he eases back in.
As I previously mentioned, the Phillies will not hesitate to remove pitchers who struggle early in games. They will have an expanded bullpen that they will not be afraid to use. Should Zach Eflin struggle as he did last night, the Phillies might have the luxury of going to someone like Eickhoff to try to keep the opposition off the board.
However, if any member of the rotation struggles, I can see the Phillies going to Eickhoff if they are confident he is healthy.
Who will the Phillies call up on September 1?
The Phillies said yesterday that there will be two "waves" of players coming up after September 1.
The first wave will be made up likely of players who have been on the cusp of the major leagues or part of the Phillies team. I can see them adding immediately Aaron Altherr, Yacksel Rios, Eickhoff, Edubray Ramos, Austin Davis and Aaron Loup soon as they are ready to come off of the 10-day disabled list, Mark Leiter, Jr. and Pedro Florimon.
The "later" crowd might be people on the roster down there that the Phillies might want to see play into the playoffs. That could include Enyel De Los Santos and Ranger Suarez, Dylan Cozens, Jesmuel Valentin and maybe even J.P. Crawford stays for the playoff run before returning to Philadelphia.
Drew Anderson probably stays down there, but he is a candidate to be designated for assignment to free up roster space that the Phillies will need. Same holds true for Mitch Walding. The injured Ben Lively's roster spot may be in jeopardy, too.