Phillies Add Asche, Arms; Pass Over Crawford, Williams
The Lehigh Valley IronPigs got eliminated from the playoffs last night in Moosic, as the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Railriders steamrolled over the IronPigs 11-3. That freed up some players for the Phillies to add to their Major League roster. The Phillies announced today that they were adding several players. However, they were not the names some fans were hoping to see.
Outfielder Cody Asche is the lone bat who is re-joining the Phillies. When the Phillies sent Asche back to Triple-A, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said that Asche would get a look at other positions. However, Asche played exclusively in the outfield. In Philadelphia, Asche will compete with Jimmy Paredes for left-handed at bats in the outfield. Asche batted .302 for the IronPigs after his demotion, with four home runs and 11 runs batted in.
The Phillies subtracted infielder Taylor Featherston from their 40-man roster, designating his contract for assignment. Featherston is a good candidate to clear waivers and remain under Phillies control. After spending all of 2015 in the Majors with the Los Angeles Angeles of Anaheim as a Rule-5 pick, the Phillies claimed Featherston on waivers. With the Phillies in 2016, Featherston batted just .115 before being optioned.
The move opened up an additional roster spot, which went to reliever Joely Rodriguez. The Phillies acquired Rodriguez from the Pirates in exchange for reliever Antonio Bastardo. Pitching at Class-A Clearwater, Double-A Reading, and Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Rodriguez went 7-0 with a 2.35 earned run average. This is Rodriguez's first sting in the Major Leagues.
The Phillies also added a couple familiar arms in right-handed pitchers Luis Garcia and Phil Klein. Klein allowed 10 runs in last night's IronPigs exit from the playoffs. Klein could be a candidate to assume Jake Thompson's spot in the starting rotation. A shut-down is in order for Thompson, but the Phillies needed more arms to make it happen. Thompson may have pitched his last inning in 2016. Garcia will help make up the innings from the bullpen.
The Phillies passed over a few arms that seemed like they could be headed to Philadelphia. Elvis Araujo was not promoted after the IronPigs' exit from the playoffs, nor was starter David Buchanan. Both players have been on the Phillies 40-man roster all season. It appeared the Phillies were keeping Buchanan around for September help; if the Phillies are not going to use him now, he very well may be cut this offseason.
The two biggest omissions may be two names Phillies fans were clamoring for in Nick Williams and J.P. Crawford. While at one point it seemed almost a given that the two players would be promoted, slowed play in recent weeks seems to have put an end to that. Both players require 40-man roster spots and the Phillies may prefer to worry about adding them at a later time. Williams must be added this offseason, while Crawford does not.
To make matters worse, Williams left last night's game after colliding with a wall. It is unclear the extent of his injury. But, a heavy amount of strikeouts made a potential call-up appear to be unwarranted. Both Williams and Crawford likely will spend Spring Training with the Phillies, but they may have to show they can play at a higher level before the Phillies call them up.
Also omitted from the call-ups was catcher Andrew Knapp. Knapp might have been a candidate to be a third catcher for the Phillies down the stretch. Knapp's omission seems to indicate that Jorge Alfaro will get the call when Reading's season concludes. Amazingly, the Phillies have not had a single disabled list stint from the catching position in 2016.
A third catcher is a usual addition in September to help with the grind of the position. What separates Alfaro from Knapp is Alfaro's inclusion on the 40-man roster, meaning the Phillies do not have to make any other moves to add Alfaro. Knapp will likely get a Spring Training invite once again in 2017.
The Reading Fightin' Phils defeated Trenton last night 13-5 and are down 2-1 in a best of five series. Alfaro hit two home runs en route to the Fightin' Phils victory. Should Reading be eliminated the Phillies could add Alfaro and outfielder Roman Quinn.