The Roster Math Behind Ryan Howard’s Return – Phillies Nation

The Roster Math Behind Ryan Howard’s Return

The Big Man is back. But whose spot does he take? Photo by Ian Riccaboni

The Big Man is almost back will likely return tonight according to Todd Zolecki and he couldn’t return any sooner to this reeling Phils club. His return will be one of a pair that set the stage for the 2012 club’s last stand. With Ryan Howard‘s return, someone will have to return to Triple-A. With only 34 active and healthy players on the 40-man roster, no one will have to be passed through waivers but someone will take the Northeast Extension back up to Allentown. Here are the candidates:

He’s Safe, But Has an Option So I Have to Mention Him

Mike Fontenot – Fontenot has been one of the most pleasant surprises this year on a team lacking much to smile about. His triple-slash of .338/.378/.403, while aided by an unsustainable .410, has helped keep him in a key reserve role. According to FanGraphs, Fontenot has been worth approximately $1.4 million to the Phillies. Not bad for an in-season signing.

Fontenot likely is not going anywhere with his ability to play every infield position and his bat has earned him a roster spot likely for the rest of the season.

It Wouldn’t Surprise Me, But I Think He’s Safe

Jason PridiePridie has had cups of coffee in the Big Leagues in 4 out of the last 5 years but turns 30 in October and has been given the label (everyone has one, ever watch Bull Durham?) of a Quadruple-A player in baseball circles. Pridie was playing very well for the IronPigs, hitting .370/.442/.652 in 13 games and was part of their rapid ascension to first place in the International League’s North Division. Pridie earned the call-up once Jim Thome packed his bags for Baltimore and I think he survives Howard’s call-up as the team’s fifth outfield. Pridie will likely return to Allentown when Laynce Nix returns to action.

If the Phillies Get Creative, He’s Going to Allentown

Brian Sanches – Sanches has not been particularly effective at the Big League-level this year. In 6.1 IP, Sanches has allowed 6 ERA, amounting to a 8.53 ERA and a 5.91 xFIP. With the multiple health and injury concerns on the roster, including but not limited to Howard, Chase Utley, and Placido Polanco, Sanches is the odd man out in the bullpen stats and performance wise and would be my choice to go, opting to go with an 11-man pitching staff v. 12.

He’s Probably Headed to Allentown

Hector LunaThe Moon Man was a Spring Training favorite, sending towering blasts into the stands at Brighthouse Field. In a reserve and part time role, Luna has been effective (.246/.295/.386), but has been outplayed by Fontenot who also offers more position flexibility. Luna’s ability to play third base makes him the fourth option at third, behind Polanco, Wigginton, and Fontenot, and likely the fourth option at first base as well. Unfortunately, it looks like Luna will be the one taking 476 North come Howard’s return.

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  1. Dave P

    July 6, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Was at the final Howard rehab appearance last night. Good plate appearances. Hopefully the 3-4 combo of chutley and the big piece can help right the ship, just finishing with a respectable record would be enough for me at this point.

    Jason or Hector are likely the odd men out. I’d be surprised if the phillies would send down (or up? Allentown is north…) Sanches, I think they’re looking for all the pitching help they can get while Doc is still getting healthy. You’re right about Fontenot, he’s been solid up here and I don’t see him leaving the club. Really a toss up between the two, in my opinion. Pridie only has 2 AB with the phils.

  2. George

    July 6, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    I’d put Luna number three at 3rd base, not number four. Wigginton is just possibly the world’s worst at third, and I would never, ever play him there over Luna, Fontenot, Polanco, or even Ruiz. Heck, I’d put a pitcher there before I’d use Wiggs.

    My guess is they farm Pridie. Mayberry won’t be needed much at first with Howard back, so he’ll serve as the other outfielder. (I’d prefer to send Mayberry down to work on his hitting, but I think he’s out of options.)

  3. Manny

    July 6, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    We need to start putting some winning streaks together. With Howard on board, a series win (hopefully a sweep) against the Braves would leave us in better shape for the second half of the season.

    Sucks that we have KK and Blanton going back to back, though. What a downer. These 2 shouldn’t be pitching in the same rotation. We can deal with one bad pitcher, but 2 is too much when at this point we HAVE to start winning 6 or 7 games out of 10.

  4. Bob in Bucks

    July 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Unless Howard pitches it is not going to make a major difference. Pitching was our strength and everyone is doing worse than last year.

    • Lefty

      July 6, 2012 at 1:31 pm

      Agree, I said this the other day, Starters, Relievers, and add sloppy fielding to that as well. There is no savior coming that can help, the guys that are there have to help themselves.

    • chuck schreiber

      July 6, 2012 at 5:56 pm

      Amen to that.

  5. psujoe

    July 6, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Are some of you guys seriously thinking this team can make a run this year? stick a fork in the 2012 season, it’s over. Too many BP arms out for the rest of the season so even if they started smashing the ball and the starters got hot they still have no Pen.

    • schmenkman

      July 6, 2012 at 2:11 pm

      If the first two happened, the third would matter very little.

      So two conflicting numbers:
      – the Phillies are 8 games back in the Wildcard race and have a 1.8% chance of making the playoffs
      – the Cardinals were 10 games back in the WC race on Aug 27, 2011

      • Manny

        July 6, 2012 at 3:14 pm

        I keep thinking about the Cardinals’ 2011 and it gives me a bit of optimism. Cards were TEN games back, people, with only 1 month left. They were without their ace (Wainwright), a very iffy rotation AND terrible bullpen (that suddenly turned it on for the playoffs).

        Our Phillies are 8 back, with 3 months left, AND two wild card spots. Sure, we’ll have to win a lot of the remaining games. But really soon we’re gonna have Cole/Cliff/Halladay going back to back to back… and a lineup anchored by Chase and Howard. Gotta admit that our lineup is gonna look pretty solid with Utley, Howard, Chooch, Pence, Shane, Polanco, Jimmy…. Our bullpen can’t possibly be any worse than it has been up until now. I think we can do it. There are reasons to be optimistic about this team, despite all the losses we’ve had in 2012.

      • psujoe

        July 6, 2012 at 9:16 pm

        You do not talk out a dominating pitcher to use this frickin Bull pen. This one is once again on Charlie.

  6. DCmikey

    July 6, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Manny, totally agree w your 2nd paragraph!!

    And yes, playoffs at this point, stand at NO realistic shot. Honest truth from a 30 year phillies fan- I’m not some fake on here 😉

  7. psujoe

    July 6, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Stop giving me hope, LOL.

  8. psujoe

    July 6, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Worst BP in baseball. You can’t go on a run when every time you get to the Pen it’s a loss. BPs are cyclical.

    How many teams were the Cardinals behind in th WC race?

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