Phillies Mailbag: Rupp, Kingery, Lineup
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Why did the Phillies release Cameron Rupp? Couldn't they have gotten something for him?
Indeed, Cameron Rupp was the odd man out of the Phillies catching situation. Jorge Alfaro will be the starter, and Andrew Knapp will get a good amount of playing time, too. The Phillies were not in a position to keep a third catcher, when it appears that they will carry nine relievers.
The Phillies did, according to reports, look to trade Rupp in the couple of weeks ahead of his release. However, there was no real trade market for Rupp. Teams may not have been willing to take on Rupp's $2.05 million salary, even if they were not giving much up for Rupp (such as "cash considerations").
The Phillies will be on the hook just over $500,000 to Rupp by giving him his release. By advancing the 10-day window the team had after designating Rupp's contract for assignment, the Phillies perhaps gave Rupp some more options. As a free agent, he can negotiate new terms with whichever team signs him.
Rupp may end up at Triple-A for someone, since rosters are mostly set. But one thing that Rupp has going for him is durability. He has not made a trip to the disabled list as a major leaguer. The catching position is a rough one and Rupp has endured which works to his advantage.
Meanwhile, the Philies will use Matt McBride and Logan Moore as catching depth at Triple-A if they have a need. With the bat and behind the plate, either player can give the Phillies what Rupp did. There was no need to carry Rupp.
How will the Phillies find playing time for Scott Kingery?
The contract extension given to Scott Kingery fills an important purpose. Instead of worrying about service time clocks, the Phillies are able to bring their best 25 players up north to Philadelphia. That means, for now, Kingery is a man without a position.
One match up seems clear: Kingery may play shortstop on the days when the Phillies face a tough lefty. In a small sample size, starter J.P. Crawford batted just .087 against left-handed pitchers.
Or, the Phillies could use Kingery in the outfield against said left-handed pitchers to give left-handed Odubel Herrera a day off along with Pedro Florimon at shortstop, giving the Phillies an entirely right-handed lineup.
When Carlos Santana takes a day off, Rhys Hoskins can play first base, opening an outfield spot for either Kingery or Nick Williams. The same can be said for when Hoskins takes a day off, too.
Kingery will play on the days that Maikel Franco and Cesar Hernandez take days off, too.
The nice thing about having Kingery around is that he is a starter-quality bat in the lineup while being a substitute. The dropoff from a Hoskins day off or a Santana day off to Florimon (no disrespect meant) vs. from Hoskins or Santana to Kingery is much less.
This arrangement worked really well for the Chicago Cubs and Ben Zobrist as they won a World Series. Kingery has shown the skills that maybe he could be that guy, though he will ultimately settle into a position of his own.
What do you think the Phillies lineup will be?
Here is my best guess at the lineup, based upon what Phillies manager Gabe Kapler has been doing in recent games.
- Cesar Hernandez, 2B
- Carlos Santana, 1B
- Odubel Herrera, CF
- Rhys Hoskins, LF
- Aaron Altherr, RF
- Maikel Franco, 3B
- Jorge Alfaro, C
- J.P. Crawford, SS
One caveat, though, is that expect the three non-catcher bench players to play a lot. Since it's only Florimon, Williams and Kingery covering positions around the diamond, they should make plenty of appearances.
The goal is to play players around 140 games, that creates plenty of opportunity for the bench players to be involved.