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Now that he hysteria over the rotation has settled to a dull roar, be it temporary or otherwise, the main concern for the Phillies as they head into the shank of the season should be the wretched state of their bench play. Quite simply, the bench stinks and particularly from the right side of the plate. Don’t get me wrong, I know that bench guys are on the bench for a reason, and that is that they’re not good enough to start. With this in mind let’s take a look at the guys currently riding the pine:
Greg Dobbs (LHB): After a slow start, he’s hot. He’s a pro hitter and can play corner outfield and third. I would like to see Charlie work him in twice a week (once for Feliz, once for Werth) when Ibanez gets back. A credit to any bench.
Matt Stairs (LHB): Yes, he’s earned a place in Phils lore for his homer last year, and we love him. But damn, he can’t field a position or run, and he admittedly tries to homer on every swing. A nice luxury on a team with a well-rounded bench.
Chris Coste (RHB): One of three catchers on the roster (at the moment). The lead right-handed pinch hitter off the bench (how scary is that?) sometimes gets burned up too early in a game when a righty hitter is needed in a clutch RBI situation. This leads to the need for …
Paul Bako (LHB): Just let that name roll off your tongue and savor that rich flavor. He can’t hit. I have no idea whether he’s supposed to be a good fielder. But hey, 22 other major league teams couldn’t have been wrong, so maybe its me.
John Mayberry (RHB): The best thing you can say about Mayberry now is that he’s right-handed. I really don’t think its fair to take a kid who needs to play and stick him on the bench and ask him to do one of baseball’s hardest jobs, which is to pinch hit. And he’s not doing it well. One might ask if I can think of anyone better to use and I would say “you mean someone that can play outfield and hit over .205?” Its not his fault, and Ruben Amaro shouldn’t have him here.
Eric Bruntlett (RHB): He’s hitting an almost inconceivable .141 this season, down from .217 last season. Any attempt to reach the “Mendoza Line” would result in a case of the bends. To say he has no place on this team is belaboring the obvious. I don’t care how many positions he plays.
The bench is ill conceived and poorly managed by Amaro. The bench righties are hitting .248, .205 and .141. These are not “better” hitters that are just slumping. Mayberry and Bruntlett are not major league hitters but Amaro keeps them here. I can find a utility infielder that bats over .230. Just give me a phone and an ATM card. And for God’s sake, let Mayberry go back to triple-A so he can learn to hit on Lehigh Valley’s dime, not ours. If Amaro can add a couple of good righty bats then the dominoes will fall, and in a good way. Coste frees up to be the backup catcher and Bako and Bruntlett can leave. And please, no hollering about how hard these guys are to find. Amaro is probably going to get these guys near the trade deadline, as throw-ins or otherwise, but for right now there is definitely “a stench on the bench.”
I have no idea what it would take to get Roy Halladay, but I know if Ruben Amaro wanted to put something together, he should offer one package for Roy Halladay and another one for Roy Halladay who signs a contract extension, and Drabek does not get included in the former. Beware the unknown variable: The New York Mets. If they got somehow got Halladay they’d become the favorites to win not only the East but the whole National League.