Phillies Mailbag: Trading for a Starter, Alvarado, Outfield Help
We are back once again with the 97.3 ESPN Phillies mailbag. We take your questions and answer them each week on The Sports Bash with Mike Gill. Tune in each Tuesday afternoon to hear your questions answered on the air.
Do you see The Phillies going the trade route for a starter?
I think after watching the last few Bailey Falter starts that it is clear that the Phillies might be looking for other options. The Phillies used multiple off days to skip Falter's start as long as they possibly could. The Phillies have lost seven of Falter's eight starts so far this season.
I have mentioned in this space before that the Phillies could turn to Nick Nelson, who has been stretching out to be a starting pitcher in the minor leagues, since coming off of a rehab assignment. Nelson has been effective in the minor leagues so far. Nelson has hit as many as 68 pitches in these starts.
Nelson last pitched on the 13th and is eligible to be recalled. He could make a start on Falter's next turn.
But the trade deadline would be an opportunity to add a starting pitcher. Last year the Phillies picked up Noah Syndergaard in a trade, so we know the Phillies are willing to make trades. I think that heading down the stretch the Phillies would absolutely need some depth.
Andrew Painter could still potentially pitch in the major leagues, but he is far from being certain to return and pitch in meaningful games this season.
So I think the Phillies will have to stick with what they have for now - Falter, Nelson, and maybe Cristopher Sanchez for a spot start. Michael Plassmeyer has not been good at Triple-A. But the trade deadline could bring some help.
Any news on Jose Alvarado? Seems too quiet.
The news is actually pretty good on Jose Alvarado, who was placed on the 15-day injured list back on May 10 (retroactive to May 8). Alvarado, who was diagnosed with left elbow inflammation, is set to start throwing again on this road trip, reports MLB.com. Alvarado is eligible to come off of the injured list a week from today.
Alvarado is on the road trip with the Phillies, and was seen brandishing his "towel chicken" during the Phillies broadcast in Colorado.
The good news is that the day Alvarado was placed on the injured list marked the move of Matt Strahm back to the bullpen, giving them a replacement lefty, and the return of Andrew Bellatti from the injured list. The moves have kept the bullpen strong enough to aid the Phillies through a five-game winning streak.
All indications are that the injury is not too serious and Alvarado could return not too much more than a week from now.
Would the Phillies consider bringing Johan Rojas up to play the outfield once Bryce Harper plays first base?
We addressed Bryce Harper at first base last week in the mailbag. While I still think that Darick Hall would get an opportunity to claim first base first, I think that there is growing momentum to Harper becoming the first baseman not just late this season, but maybe even beyond.
Harper at first base would open the opportunity for either Kyle Schwarber or Nick Castellanos to serve as designated hitter.
While Rojas has gotten people's attention, he is not the only outfielder who could find his way into the Phillies outfield. Simon Muzziotti has been impressive, too. Here are how they are doing.
At Double-A Reading, Rojas is batting .290, with six doubles, one triple, and two home runs. He has walked 11 times and stolen eight bases, being caught four times.
At Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Muzziotti is batting an incredible .388, with five doubles, two triples, and three home runs. He has walked nine times and stolen nine bases.
I think if there was to be an opening in the Phillies outfield, Muzziotti could get a look. But let's not forget that Cristian Pache will return, too, and they might like to see more of what he can do. So there could be a few good options.