It is time once again for a Phillies 97.3 ESPN Monday Mailbag.  We take your questions every Monday and then we talk about them during the Sports Bash with Mike Gill on Tuesday afternoons at 2:30 p.m.   If you are not in South Jersey, you can listen online at 973espn.com.

Who will the Phillies call up on Thursday when rosters expand?
~Nick

While Phillies fans are clamoring for some prospects, I do not think that the Phillies will call up any top prospects just yet.   Due to the overwhelming need, the Phillies are likely set to add pitching.  The Phillies have a number of names already on the 40-man roster that the team can add for depth, provided that it does not interfere with the playoffs for Double-A Reading or Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Expect a few to several of the following pitchers to find their way into Philadelphia:

  • Elvis Araujo
  • Alec Asher 
  • David Buchanan
  • Luis Garcia
  • Dalier Hinojosa
  • Phil Klein
  • Colton Murray
  • Patrick Schuster

Asher needs to finish his "rehab assignment" stemming from his 80-game suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

Meanwhile, Andres Blanco seems to have healed and can join the Phillies, too, perhaps as soon as Wednesday.  A few published reports including this one from Kevin Cooney of the Bucks County Courier Times have suggested that Blanco does not need a rehab assignment.  So, soon as the Phillies can add Blanco without cutting someone else, expect them to.

The Phillies may also eventually bring Cody Asche or Darin Ruf into the fold.  This could be the last chance for Ruf, if he gets it at all.  If Ruf is not brought back to the Major Leagues, the Phillies would be better off giving him his outright release, freeing up a roster spot for someone else.  If the Phillies can trade Peter Bourjos by Wednesday, that would help Ruf's chances.  The Phillies need a 40-man spot for Asher, and Ruf could be the casualty.

The Phillies will likely carry a third catcher.  Newcomer A.J. Ellis will probably have the task of mentoring one or both of Jorge Alfaro or Andrew Knapp.  Whichever team is eliminated from their playoffs first could be how they determine who to call upon.  Logan Moore, who assisted the Phillies in Spring Training, could get a call while the others are in the playoffs.

J.P. CrawfordNick Williams, and Roman Quinn could all get the call later, depending on their health.    The Phillies would have to find roster space for Crawford and Williams, and Quinn is dealing with a concussion.  We may end up seeing none of them, but we may have a better idea after the playoffs.

What are your thoughts on Roman Quinn? Would you try to trade him? Never can stay healthy.
~Stephen

One of the more disappointing turn of events in the last week or so was Roman Quinn getting a concussion.  Quinn had been moving around the Reading Fightin' Phils outfield, getting experience at all three outfield positions.  Quinn even started hitting like a corner outfielder, too, hitting a few home runs while playing right and left field.

On Saturday, Quinn took a pickoff throw to the head and ended up on the seven-day disabled list.  Quinn told Ryan Lawrence of Philly Voice that his primary goal for 2017 was to stay healthy.  That was before the concussion.   The injuries are a concern, indeed.

Talent-wise, I think that Quinn has incumbent center fielder Odubel Herrera beat in terms of speed, base running, and defense.   What remains to be seen is how often Quinn can get on base as a Major League player.  A September call-up may have been in order for Quinn, who already occupies time on the 40-man roster.

Quinn still could end up in Philadelphia before the season is over, depending on how his injury goes.  If Quinn was more certain to be with the Phillies in good health, Herrera could be trade bait.  With a very capable Aaron Altherr able to play center field, the Phillies could still trade Herrera and hope that Quinn comes along.

The only positive thing about Quinn's injury history is that the injuries have all been pretty different: Achilles, hamstring, oblique, and now the concussion.  With no regular history of one issue coming back again and again, maybe this is just a string of bad luck.  Hopefully, the Phillies get to see Quinn this season to help make a final assessment.

Why do the Phillies keep playing Ryan Howard? It is impeding the growth of Tommy Joseph.
~Richie

As a first baseman, Tommy Joseph has 16 home runs.  As a first baseman, Ryan Howard has 17 home runs.  That means that Phillies first basemen have combined for 33 home runs, even with Andres Blanco and Darin Ruf each getting at bats there.  Prior to the season if you knew the Phillies were going to get 33 home runs of production from their first basemen, fans probably would have been very happy to hear this.

The 33 home runs is enough for the most in baseball in 2016, believe it or not.  Over in Cleveland, Mike Napoli (18) and Carlos Santana (14) have combined for 32.   In Toronto, Edwin Encarnacion (17) and Justin Smoak (14) have 31 combined home runs.   In Baltimore, Chris Davis has 30 home runs as a first baseman as Mark Trumbo hit one of his MLB-best 40 home runs playing there.

It is understandable to want to see Joseph get more experience playing against right-handed pitchers, but the platoon is working pretty well for right now.  During Interleague games against right-handed pitchers, Joseph usually plays alongside Howard, and otherwise, Joseph has 110 at bats against right-handed pitchers to 76 against left-handed pitchers.  Joseph has played in 78 game and gotten 246 at bats.

In some respects, Joseph is auditioning for the 2017 starting first base job.  The job would be Joseph's to lose, but I would not be surprised if the Phillies brought in a left-handed first base option in Spring Training to create a little competition.  Joseph is batting just .241 against right-handed pitching to .276 against left-handed pitching.  It may be good that the Phillies do not overexpose Joseph to right-handed pitchers for now while he gets his feet wet.