As expected, today has been a busy and pivotal day for the Phillies and their future. To start, Ryan Franklin was designated for assignment to make room on the roster for Randy Wolf. It was then announced that Bobby Abreu, who was scheduled to start, was withheld from the lineup. This sparked rumors about his impending departure, which were later confirmed. Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle have been dealt to the Yankees for four current minor leaguers: C. J. Henry, SS; Matt Smith, LHP; Jesus Sanchez, C; Carlos Monasterios, RHP – more on them later. With all the moves and injuries the Phillies lineup had a radically different look than normal; despite the scheduled doubleheader – Sandoval, Nunez, Dellucci, Victorino, and Wolf all made starts.
Wolf looked rusty early on. His first five batters reached a full count as Randy proceeded to look like a typical Phillies started as he gave up a run in the first. Incidentally, the single which scored the run rolled up the middle as Danny Sandoval was unwisely parked deep in the hole. Wolf had 40+ pitches in the first, including a wild pitch but settled down and left after 4 1/3 with the game tied. Lieberthal hit his second homer run of the year, a grand slam, and propelled the Phillies to a 11-5 victory. Chase Utley also extended his hitting streak to 30 games and Ryan Howard walked five times, tying a Phillies record.
In the fourth inning, Bobby Abreu came out to sit in the dugout and say his goodbyes, not to mention spark a five run rally. The Yanks already played today and have off tomorrow so he was in no rush to hit the road. He wore sunglasses, not just because it was bright today, but hide some teary eyes. Bobby called Ramon Henderson from the bullpen phone and spent the rest of the game parked on the bench next to his injured buddy, Jimmy Rollins. Despite the flack Bobby has received the past few years, you’re insane if you think the Phillies won’t miss him, just look at the numbers from this preemptive eulogy we expressed for him last week. He and Cory were treated to a standing ovation as they came out for a final curtain call.
Based on what the Phils got back for Abreu and Bell, it’s clear Pat Gillick has his eyes set on the 2007 season. Fortunately, the Yankees will be picking up both their salaries, though I have yet to see confirmation that Abreu will have his club option picked up for 2008. With the Phils down an outfielder, Shane Victorino will likely become the new Phillies starter at rightfield. He may platoon with Dellucci unless he his traded as well. Still this means the Phils have two roster spots open, perhaps Roberson and Matheison or Floyd will be called back up…or there’s always the possibility Pat Gillick will secure a big leaguer for the first time this week.
Finally, what you’ve all been waiting for, the lowdown on the prospects who are now Phillies from the official release:
C. J. Henry, SS
B-T: R-R . . . 6-3, 205 . . . Born: May 31, 1986, Oklahoma City, OK . . . Resides: Oklahoma City . . . Originally selected by the Yankees in the first round (17th player overall) of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft . . . Was named the 2005 Oklahoma High School Player of the Year and also named by Baseball America as a first-team High School All American . . . Hit .481 at Putnam City High School in 2005 with 13 home runs and 41 RBI in 37 games.
Henry is hitting .232 in 76 games for the Charleston RiverDogs in the single-A South Atlantic League. He has 19 doubles, three triples and two home runs with 33 RBI and 35 runs scored. After hitting .211 through the first two months, Henry is hitting .254 in the last two months, collecting 11 of his doubles and 21 of his RBI. He will be assigned to single-A Lakewood, also of the South Atlantic League.
Henry made his pro debut last summer with the Yankees’ rookie-level Gulf Coast League team, hitting .249 in 48 games. Baseball America named him the fourth-best prospect in the Yankees organization after the season.
Matt Smith, LHP
B-T: L-L . . . 6-4, 220 . . . Born: June 15, 1979, Las Vegas, NV . . . Resides: Henderson, NV . . . Originally selected by the Yankees in the fourth round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft out of Oklahoma State University . . . Was the school’s all-time strikeout leader (348 over three years) when selected.
Smith has relieved for both the Yankees and triple-A Columbus this season. He began the season with Columbus, was promoted after three scoreless appearances and relieved three times in the majors, returned to Columbus, recalled again on June 4 and back to triple-A on July 4.
Smith pitched a total of 12.0 scoreless innings for the Yankees over 12 games, allowing four hits and eight walks while striking out nine. With Columbus, he went 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 24 games.
Last season, Smith was converted from a starter to a reliever while splitting time between double-A Trenton and Columbus. He was 3-1 with a 1.55 ERA in 18 appearances at Trenton before moving up to Columbus’ bullpen where he was 2-0 with a 2.60 ERA in 25 appearances. He also pitched for Grand Canyon in the Arizona Fall League and for Team USA on the Olympic Qualifying team.
Jesus Sanchez, C
B-T: R-R . . . 5-11, 160 . . . Born: September 24, 1987, Valencia, VZ . . . Resides: Valencia . . . Originally signed by the Yankees as an amateur free agent, July 2, 2004.
Playing for the Gulf Coast Yankees this season, Sanchez was hitting .264 in 23 games with five doubles and 10 RBI. He had eight multi-hit games. He made his professional debut in 2005 with the Yankees’ team in the Dominican Summer League.
Carlos Monasterios, RHP
B-T: R-R . . . 6-2, 175 . . . Born: August 17, 1985, Miranda, VZ . . . Resides: Miranda . . . Originally signed by the Yankees as an amateur free agent, September 22, 2004.
Monasterios was also pitching for the Gulf Coast Yankees. He was 1-2 with a 2.97 ERA in seven games (three starts). In 30.1 innings, he allowed 23 hits while walking three and striking out 24. Opponents were batting .207 against him. He, too, made his debut in the Dominican Summer League last season, going 1-1 with a 0.59 ERA in 13 games.
Both Sanchez and Monasterios will be assigned to Single-A Clearwater.