Seems like every news outlet in the Philly media today is blasting trumpets about the great stuff going on with the Phillies. Well, I’m going the other way.
The Phils are starting to feel the effects of the injury bug, unlike the happy-injury-free piece Jim Salisbury wrote today. Yes, the Phils have had less DL stints than other teams, but you could argue the Phils’ DL stints take a larger toll, as the depth behind the Phils’ top players is ridiculously thin.
An injury to Pedro Feliz has brought Mike Cervenak into the fray. Cervenak has just one official plate appearance in his Major League career. If that makes him the 25th man, consider So Taguchi and his .227 average the 24th man. Eric Bruntlett, hitting .226, is the 23rd man. That leaves a backup catcher (either the average Chris Coste [104 OPS+] or well-below-average Carlos Ruiz [53 OPS+] and one of the platooning outfielders (either Jayson Werth [113 OPS+] or the one-swing Geoff Jenkins [80 OPS+]).
When Feliz returns, Greg Dobbs will take his rightful place as the first man off the bench. His 127 OPS+ as a bench player is fantastic. But after him in the current rotation, what is there? What if Werth is starting?
The Phillies need experience and talent off the bench. Preferably a right-handed hitter, but a righty and a lefty wouldn’t hurt.
Who’s out there?
Michael Cuddyer (OF, 1B): Once a 100-RBI man, he’s only hitting .252 this season, but that would make him a pretty good option, as opposed to Taguchi. He has some pop, as well.
Frank Catalanotto (1B, OF): While a lefty, he does have good numbers (.288, .358, .410). He cannot, however, hit lefties, so I wouldn’t go at him.
Marlon Byrd (OF): Ahh, the former Phillie. He’s hitting .254 with seven homers in a platoon job for Texas. Would be an upgrade, but not much, over Taguchi.
Randy Winn (OF): Someone that’s been discussed, Winn is hitting .284 for the Giants. While he’s an upgrade over Taguchi, I don’t know if he’d get the playing time he needs in the outfield.
Rich Aurilia (IF): Having a pretty average year, Aurilia would be a nice contingency plan and the type of veteran singles/doubles hitter this team needs.
Jason Michaels (OF): Love those former Phils. Hitting .262 for Pittsburgh, he has some pop (7 HR, 32 RBI in NL) and is slugging .469. He’s also best friends with Pat Burrell. Would be a fine veteran leader addition.
Of those presented, I’d love Aurilia. The Mets are rumored to be looking hard at him. I’d go strong after him too, then maybe turn to Michaels.