Phillies Mailbag: Shortstop, August Deals, Hoskins
Welcome to a post-trade deadline edition of the Phillies mailbag! Each week we take your questions and then discuss them on the Sports Bash with Mike GIll, Tuesdays at 2:30 p.m. Have a question? Send it any time to @FrankKlose
Freddy Galvis has been on fire lately. Is he the shortstop of the future?
This has been a common question lately, given the success that shortstop Freddy Galvis has had in recent weeks. Also having a really good month of July is shortstop J.P. Crawford down at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, increasing his chances to appear in the big leagues soon. However, the future is probably not so precisely planned out.
It is very fair to say that in the infield, Galvis provides the Phillies superior defense, to the point there are many loud calls for Galvis to be considered for a Rawlings Gold Glove Award. One great asset that Galvis brings to the Phillies now is that his defense behind young pitchers helps them relax on the mound. In the big leagues, the Nick Pivetta and Ben Lively types are learning to pitch to contact more often and having solid defense up the middle goes a long way.
However, the offense Galvis provides is mediocre to acceptable. Finally, Galvis has an on base percentage over .300 (it is currently at .304), a category in which he regularly ranks towards the bottom of the league. At times, the Phillies can carry this. Other times, it can help contribute to some of the lineup’s worst moments. Remember May for the Phillies in which they went 6-22? Galvis batted .188 for the month.
The position probably still belongs to Crawford long-term. Galvis will be a free agent after 2018. If Galvis plays to the level that will earn him a large payday and a starting job elsewhere, he is probably going to depart after 2018, unless the Phillies happen to make a trade after the 2017 season.
Galvis is an excellent stopgap to bridge Jimmy Rollins to Crawford. He could serve in the Andres Blanco mentor role as a super utility player like he once was. When the Phillies are good again, they really could use someone like Galvis. But it’s hard to commit to him long term.
What trades could be made in August, during the waiver trade period?
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak surprised me some by being able to trade the contracts of Howie Kendrick, Jeremy Hellickson, and Joaquin Benoit prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. If you told me that he could trade one of them along with Pat Neshek, I would be satisfied. If you told me two would be traded, I would say he is doing a good job. All three? Well done, sir.
The veterans that are left who could interest another team include bench players Andres Blanco and Daniel Nava. Blanco has not hit like he usually does in 2017 and Nava is currently on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. The problem with these players is that there is very little a team could get in return for them Should a team want a player such as Blanco or Nava, they might put a waiver claim on them and try to get them for free.Ditto
The newly-acquired Hyun Soo Kim could clear waivers and be moved for a minimal return, should the Phillies pay his salary. But given his poor offensive output, there will be little demand. I would not be surprised if the Phillies even cut Kim to make room for a prospect in September.
Waiver claims could be put on players such as Cameron Rupp or Tommy Joseph. Claiming teams again are not likely to offer a whole lot for them, but they’d be willing to assume their minimal contracts if the Phillies let them. These types of players often get pulled back off of waivers.
One thing I would not count out is something outside of the box in which the Phillies take on someone’s large salary if they get some prospects back in return. After clearing waivers, some teams might be desperate to acquire other pieces to help them down the stretch run, but find themselves up against the luxury tax threshold or a tight budget. The Phillies could let it be known (as they appear to have so far) that they will take back bad money in exchange for prospects or international slot money.
Since Tommy Joseph was not traded, what happens to Rhys Hoskins now?
This one we will have to wait out. There is nothing wrong with Rhys Hoskins playing one full season at Triple-A before getting a look. Short of the Phillies moving Joseph in an August deal, the Phillies will have to wait and see what happens long-term.
Despite moving four players off of the 40-man roster, the Phillies have added three right back in Pedro Beato, Hyun Soo Kim, and Jesen Therrien. There is a single spot open right now, but that could go to whoever fills the bullpen spot vacated by Joaquin Benoit. There may not be enough spots to bring Hoskins up in 2017.
The Phillies could trade Joseph in the offseason and let Hoskins come to camp prepared to battle a free agent acquisition for the starting job. Veteran free agents that could fit this description could include the likes of Pedro Alvarez or Adam Lind. as the Phillies might prefer a left-handed bat who could start if necessary, or even platoon with Hoskins.
But for now, Joseph is productive enough that they are not going to just simply release him for Hoskins. Until he is moved, Hoskins will have to wait. If it is until Spring Training, so be it.