We are back once again with the 97.3 ESPN Phillies Mailbag.  Each week we take your questions and then answer them on the Sports Bash with Mike Gill Tuesday afternoons.  Tune in and listen to us answer to your questions.

When do they pull the trigger on bagging this season and trading one of the top two starters for some prospects?
Who should they keep and rebuild around?
Who do you trade to get some value back to start rebuilding? Hoskins? Bohm?
Where the hell do we go from here Frank?

These three questions all demonstrate one thing:  Phillies fans seem prepared to give up on the 2021 season and go towards a rebuild.  The official Phillies rebuild began in 2015 and should have been completed by now.  But the Phillies find themselves four games under the .500 mark 54 games into the season.  While that's not good, I think the Phillies need to wait before making such a decision.

Before the Phillies make any decisions, they must get healthy.  As I wrote last night, there are four players in the Phillies lineup that seem rely on: Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Didi Gregorius, and Jean Segura.

When all four of are in the lineup, the Phillies are 10-8.  Otherwise they are 15-21.  These four players represent 37% of the payroll, and they've played together just those 18 times.

First and foremost, those four players need to be healthy.  Then many of your holes are not overexposed.  The team can deal with Brad Miller as a sub and not a starting outfielder (he shouldn't be).  Then you can use Nick Maton as a sub and not exposing him as an overmatched rookie.

And, the veteran players can take their days off and not have the pressure of playing every day, leaving them less susceptible to injury.

I do think there are major questions about the overall construction of this team, particularly around the team's defense.  That type of overhaul will need to take place in an offseason, not mid-season.

A lot will depend on whether or not there is a designated hitter next season.  It will depend on who is desirable in trade, not a matter of the Phillies unloading someone.   It seems to be universally determined the Phillies will not make it with both Alec Bohm and Rhys Hoskins unless there is a designated hitter.

I don't think anyone should be off the board for a trade in the offseason as they seek to better their defense, which Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports is responsible for -26 defensive runs saved (AKA they've given up an extra 26 runs).


Why is Nick Maton being benched?

Phillies infielder Nick Maton has been somewhat of a surprise.  After being sent to the minor league camp with two weeks remaining of Spring Training, Maton was a surprise call-up.  For the most part, Maton has delivered more than expected.  However, Maton is a serious slump.

Maton has not gotten a hit in the last 10 games in which he has appeared.  Maton's last hit was on May 18th against the Miami Marlins.

May 18 was also the day that Ronald Torreyes returned to the Phillies.

Torreyes went from a candidate to be cut to one of the more reliable bats.  In the time since his return, Torreyes is batting .323 in 31 at bats.  Torreyes has two doubles and two walks in that time.

The Phillies need the offense right now.  Segura has returned to second base, so the Phillies are not in need of a middle infielder at the moment.  I am sure Maton will get some more chances, but the Phillies are desperate for the offense Torreyes has been giving them.

Remind me again why we kept David Hale instead of keeping Tony Watson?

The Phillies made the decision at the end of Spring Training to decline to add lefty reliever Tony Watson to the roster, seemingly giving the last roster spot to David Hale.  I think a lot of that had mainly to do with the availability of Jojo Romero.  Romero, of course, is headed to Tommy John surgery and out for the season.  Much of it had to do with the $3 million Watson would have earned.

Watson ended up signing on with the Los Angeles Angels for $1 million.  He has mostly pitched okay for the Angels.  A recent blow-up led to his ERA exceeding the 4 mark.

But that does not justify Hale's roster spot.  Hale has been consistently not helpful to the Phillies.  When he comes in with runners on, they score.  He allows his own.  Coming in as a reliever with a game in reach, it becomes out of reach.

Keep an eye on the return of Matt Moore.   The Phillies will soon not be able to justify having Moore, Chase Anderson, and David Hale all in the bullpen as long men.

Meanwhile, Ranger Suarez has returned and shows that he belongs in the Phillies bullpen.

Additionally, the Phillies are currently carrying 14 pitchers.  That number should return to the 13 number once they actually have some healthy position players to occupy a full bench.  The returns of Harper and Gregorius could force that.

Another move that could force that is upon the return of Adam Haseley to the 40-man roster.   That takes place in a couple weeks and Hale could be the odd man out with all of these circumstances coming together.

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