Years since last time Capitals reached Stanley Cup Finals

Phillies Notebook: Making room for prospects

Posted by Eric Fisher On September 11

When a team has the worst record in Major League Baseball, it can’t afford to part with many assets. But the Phillies, with the worst record in baseball, may trade their team leader in home runs (who also happens to be the team co-leader in RBI) and their co-leaders in triples, one of whom also is their best defensive player.

And they might not get too much in return for any of them.

Why the rush to trade these players? Because they’re blocking the paths of some of the Phillies’ top prospects.

First baseman Tommy Joseph, who leads the Phillies with 21 home runs and is tied with Maikel Franco for the team lead in RBI (66), is directly in the path of the phenomenal Rhys Hoskins, who is climbing the home run leaderboard with 14 in 31 games.

Second baseman Cesar Hernandez, who is batting .289, and Gold Glove shortstop candidate Freddy Galvis will likely be replaced at some point by Scott Kingery and J.P. Crawford. Crawford was called up to the majors last week. The only thing that is likely to prevent Kingery from starting next season with the Phillies is his contract situation. The Phillies can delay Kingery becoming eligible for arbitration and free agency by delaying his ascension to the big leagues next season.

The dilemma for the Phillies is they might lose their current statistics leaders for a negligible return. They tried to trade Joseph at the mid-summer trade deadline, but didn’t find an appetizing return. Hernandez may bring a prospect or two in return. Galvis is a superb fielder, so he might bring a bit more in return, but his .253 average might scare teams away from giving up too much for him.

If the Phillies can’t get much for Joseph, they might have to give him away. Barring injury, there’s no question that Hoskins will be the starting first baseman next season.

There is a little more doubt about Crawford. The Phillies have him in the majors this month so they can make a more informed decision about him – and about Galvis. Hernandez may stick around until Kingery is promoted, although the Phillies would certainly trade him during the offseason for the right price.

Teams, especially bad ones, usually can’t afford to trade team leaders in home runs and triples.

With top prospects waiting in the wings, however, the Phillies almost can’t afford not to trade them.


SLOW START: Six games are too few from which to draw conclusions, but J.P. Crawford is batting .200 after six games. He has seven strikeouts and hasn’t walked.


STREAK OVER: Freddy Galvis started the first 140 games this season at shortstop before being replaced by Crawford in the starting lineup Friday. Galvis pinch-hit, so he still has played in every Phillies game this season.


HERRERA’S FOLLIES: Odubel Herrera continues to be an incredibly frustrating player. On the one hand, he compiled a 21-game hitting streak (which ended last week). On the other hand, on Saturday he broke in on a ball that sailed over his head in center field, and then jogged back to the wall to get it while the Nationals’ Michael Taylor circled the bases for an inside-the-park grand slam.

I’m tired of the “Odubel is just being Odubel” crowd. Breaking in on the ball was a mistake. Failing to hustle to retrieve the ball after making the mistake is unacceptable. How many times does Herrera have to fail to hustle before the Phillies decide to trade him?


CROWDED HOUSE: With Odubel Herrera and Aaron Altherr coming off the disabled list, the Phillies have a crowded outfielder, particularly with Rhys Hoskins playing left field at times so Tommy Joseph can start at first base.


LIVELY ARM: Ben Lively suffered the loss Sunday against the Nationals, but he made his third straight solid start. Lively struck out seven and allowed three runs in eight innings during the 3-2 loss. Unfortunately for Lively, his mound opponent was Stephen Strasburg, who limited the Phillies to two hits hurling eight shutout innings, extending his streak of scoreless innings to 34.

Lively has only allowed six runs in his last three starts. Despite a 3-6 record, his ERA this season has improved to a respectable 3.86.


AWARD WINNERS: Second baseman Scott Kinger and pitcher Tom Eshelman were named winners of the Paul Owens Award as the best position player and pitcher in the Phillies’ minor-league system. Kingery batted .304, with 26 home runs and 29 doubles in a season that started with Class AA Reading and finished with Class AAA Lehigh Valley. Eshelman also was promoted to Class AAA during the season, finishing a combined 13-3 with a 2.40 ERA in 23 starts.


VELASQUEZ HAS SURGERY: Vince Velasquez is expected to be ready for spring training after having surgery to address circulations problems in his right hand and middle finger. The question is whether he will be considered for the starting rotation or the bullpen if he’s ready for spring training. How many more chances will Velasquez receive to be a starting pitcher?


SHUTDOWN RELIEVER: The Phillies have shut down reliever Jesen Therrien for the rst of the season to an injury to the ulna collateral ligament in his right elbow. If surgery were to be required to fix the problem, that would be a major surgery best known as Tommy John surgery.


HERE TODAY, GONE TOMORROW: Reliever Juan Nicasio barely had time to unpack his bags. He made two appearances for the Phillies after being picked up on waivers from the Pirates before the Phillies sent him to the Cardinals for infield prospect Eliezer Alvarez. Nicasio posted a 1-0 record while hurling 1 1/3 scoreless innings. That’s quite a Phillies career.


STREAKING: The Indians take an 18-game winning streak into Monday’s games. At the other end of the Spectrum, the Dodgers have lost 10 straight games. Even so, the Dodgers built such a big cushion that they still have a nine-game lead in the National League West.


AVOIDING CENTURY CITY: With 16 of their final 19 games at home, the Phillies (54-89) need to win nine games to avoid finishing the season with 100 or more losses. They start that home stretch Tuesday with the opener of a three-game series with the Marlins. That will be followed with three games against the visiting A’s, who are in last place in the AL West, before hosting the Dodgers for four games.

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