Phillies Mailbag: Offense, DFA’d Pitching, Ramos
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.
The Phillies now have 33 players on the roster. Can any combination of them actually score some runs?
The Phillies offense remains frustrating. The Phillies scored four total runs in the entire series against the Chicago Cubs and opened the Marlins series by scoring just one run. The Phillies will not win that way.
Jayson Stark of the Athletic noted that if the Phillies make the playoffs, they will be the first ever to do so with a batting average under .240. Of course, the Phillies will not make the playoffs if this continues. Unfortunately for the Phillies, may key players have just gone stone cold.
The Phillies are getting next to nothing from Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera, who as the number one and three hitters in April drove the entire Phillies offense. Carlos Santana remains very productive since the All-Star Break - he is hitting .286 since - but he is being regularly bounced from place to place while the lineup tries to get moving. And Rhys Hoskins is 2 for his last 19.
Meanwhile, Maikel Franco hurt his wrist a week ago and has been unable to get a hit since, while sitting twice.
The Phillies cannot win this way.
If I'm the Phillies, I just keep trying combinations until one seems to work. I would play Jose Bautista and Justin Bour more, even if it means giving Carlos Santana a start at third base. He won't be the best there, but some offense would be helpful. Asdrubal Cabrera has not been as good as he was with the Mets, but I would play him every day, anyway.
And of course, keep Wilson Ramos in as much as you can. He is batting .400 since joining the Phillies. Ditto Roman Quinn who has been very productive at the plate while playing a solid center field.
On paper, it seems like they cannot possibly be this bad. Something must be in their head and they must overcome it. The Atlanta Braves are four games ahead, and while the Phillies cannot say they are out of it, they need to do more to show they deserve it.
Why would the Phillies let Ben Lively and Mark Leiter go for nothing?
This one was a matter of who is on the 40-man roster now and and who will be later. When you stockpile prospects as the Phillies have, you will ultimately come to the point where someone with talent gets knocked off of the roster. This is the case for both Lively and Leiter.
Leiter was claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays, who saw him first hand in Spring Training look really good. After injury, Leiter has not been the same. The Blue Jays, set to rebuild, could be patient with a Leiter and see what he can do down the road. The Phillies do not have the same time, as they have players ready to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason, while enough arms for now.
The same can be said for Lively. While he did not look good in his five starts for the Phillies in 2018, he reported to the minor leagues and did not pitch poorly, before getting injured. Since he is only working as a reliever in five appearances post-injury, he probably was not going to help the Phillies right now.
The same can be said for his roster spot later: the Phillies have arms ranked ahead of Lively who will need to be added to the roster this offseason. There is also the chance that Lively can sneak through waivers and be outrighted to Triple-A. Most teams have added people to the roster as September call-ups and now is the time he might sneak through.
Sometimes in a rebuilding team there are players who will make it as complimentary pieces on a major league roster. But when you have players in the system who are more likely to make a lasting impact, they sometimes take precedence. It's the cost of rebuilding.
Is there any chance the Phillies will re-sign Wilson Ramos?
Yes, Wilson Ramos has surely made his presence known early in his time with the Phillies. Batting .400 so far in his time with the Phillies, much of their offensive production has come from Ramos. While Jorge Alfaro remains a very talented player, I would not be shocked if the Phillies kept Ramos around.
The big question will be what kind of deal Ramos is looking for and how much the Phillies can get him. Ramos is wrapping up a two-year deal he signed after suffering a knee injury. That deal contained all kinds of incentives related to his health.
The Phillies might not structure a deal that way, but if the deal is perhaps two years long, I think they would be comfortable guaranteeing him some good money to start. Alfaro could serve behind him, and Andrew Knapp's remaining minor league option can keep him at Triple-A as another backup option.
Ramos would be a nice fit and a nice mentor to heir apparent Alfaro. But if Ramos can get a three- or four-year deal, the Phillies may not be willing to commit to that.