It’s been a while since we last created a mailbag, so why not use one now? The Phillies are good again, interest is at a peak and there is a lot to discuss. Let’s get to the heart of the matter.
Which return arm will have the greatest impact on the bullpen?
– Lawrence J. (@lwrncjones) June 16, 2022
With the “return of the arm”, I assume my friend Lawrence here is talking about the injured relief force starting to work its way through rehabilitation assignments. These names include:
- Sam Coonrod
- Kent Emmanuel
- Jojo Romero
- Ryan Sheriff
Of these, the most obvious that it could have an impact would be Coonrod. Whatever you think of him personally, his performance on the pitch last season was one of the surprises of the year and would be a welcome addition if he were able to repeat it. Having a pitcher in the back who could replace Jeurys Familia with numbers like a strikeout rate of around 26% and a walk rate of less than 9% would be the boost this bullpen needs.
Probably the under-the-radar addition would be having someone like Romero returning from Tommy John’s surgery and would be an effective relief for left-handed people. Right now, the only left the team has confidence in is Brad Hand and Rob Thomson looks like he’s saving him for closure situations. This means that Jose Alvarado is left as the one who should face the tough southpaw in the matches with the southpaws at the end of the matches, something that no one on the team wants to happen. While his major league numbers, scant as they may be, don’t scream “major leaguer!”, It would be easy to send Romero out there a few times to see what he has rather than knowing that Alvarado will frustrate you with what he has.
Hopefully. Question, who has been a bigger disappointment this year, JT or Castellanos?
– Eric Jordan (@EJPSU) June 15, 2022
Even I, Realmuto’s most loyal defender, am willing to admit he has been underwhelmed this season. He was pretty bad at the pot, yet his defense was among the first in the game behind the pot. Once he starts slipping on the defensive, I think the organization has something to really worry about. He is still contributing something to the team.
Nick Castellanos was pretty awful through and through, making it the easier choice as it was “most disappointing”. He’s not hitting average, he’s not going to base, he’s not hitting for power and the less we talk about him defending him, the better he is. His drop in BABIP (.304 this season compared to .340 last season) may have something to do with that, but there are other things he’s struggling with as well. His O-Swing% is up, his Z-Swing% is down, his hit rate and hard hits are both down, and teams are ahead of him more often than in the past. These are indicators that it’s not just a bad streak with him this season; these are errors in areas that indicate something else is wrong. Can they be corrected? Safe. I still can’t think of this as a sunk cost, but if these are the start of new trends in his career, the team has a big problem on their hands.
who’s the best bullpen to keep for a while?
– phillies phan (36-32) (@huntingfordubs) June 15, 2022
Well, let’s start with who we don’t want.
Jeurys Familia and Brad Hand have a one year contract and it will be shown at the door once the season is over. Until we meet againgentlemen (except you, Familia. Don’t let the door hit you in the back as you leave).
There is a decent chance that Jose Alvarado isn’t tender once the season is over. If they have already made the decision once to demote him for ineffectiveness, it must be believed that the team will not give him a raise in arbitration to frustrate them even more in 2023.
At the speed at which Corey Knebel is pitching, it’s hard to think the team will give him an extension, but I’m willing to bet that as the season continues and he’ll end up getting big in big games at the end of the season. Does he mean that he will return in 2023? Everything will depend on the demands of him which may be too exorbitant for the Phillies.
This leaves a guy, really. Of all the pitchers in the bullpen right now, the one the team has to keep is Seranthony Dominguez. Last week, I wrote about how the team needs to keep him in the current role he is in (that of the “fireman”) since they really don’t have anyone else reliable enough to take on the same role. Pitchers who can be successful in that role are in high demand when free will strikes and if Dominguez were to hit the market this off-season (he isn’t), he’d have a lot of money to keep. Fortunately for them, he is still under the team’s control for another two seasons, so there is no immediate risk in his departure, but at some point, perhaps an extension should be discussed to get those refereeing seasons under greater scrutiny. costs.
… should phils sell (relatively) high over hoskins?
– Alex Mazzuca (@NotQuiteSpecial) June 16, 2022
I’m not a Rhys Hoskins fan. His sizzling start to his major league career has created high expectations from observers who feel he hasn’t lived up to the age over the years. But this idea of ”high selling” on Hoskins is madness.
First, what exactly are they selling on top? Hoskins is currently hitting .251 / .339 / .467 as a 30-year-old right first baseman who isn’t very good at fielding his position. What is its value? He won’t report any good prospects, and if they were to trade him for something of equal value on a major league roster, they’d be looking for a starting 4th / 5th or rescuer in the mid-inning. It’s not much if you then take into consideration that they would have a 124 wRC + sized hole in the middle of their formation which they would then have to fill in another way. Sure they could move someone like Alec Bohm to full-time first base, or put JT Realmuto there on a more regular basis, but then those other positions need to be filled. Such is the domino effect that the Hoskins trade would create.
As frustrating as it can be at times to watch with his winning streak, the team doesn’t send Hoskins anywhere. After the season, when his refereeing number increases, might they not keep him? This is a different story.
Is o’hoppe – realmuto’s situation the same as thome – Ryan Howard? Should we handle it the same way?
– patrickquerubin (@patrickquerubin) June 16, 2022
Ryan Howard was so clearly ready to take over from Jim Thome when the team swapped the latter that a move had to be made. Thome was injured in 2005, paving the way for Howard to enter, dominate in his shortened season and win the Rookie of the Year that season. The team knew they had to move on and luckily found a team in the White Sox that had a hole that trading with Thome could fill. He would go on to produce nearly 10 fWARs for the White Sox over the next three seasons and generally give them exactly what they needed. He wasn’t done being a productive player.
Howard, meanwhile, was very much ready for the major leagues and made his way up the roster, establishing himself as an icon of the franchise in subsequent seasons, winning an MVP award and a World Series along the way. He was one of those trades that happened to set both teams to be successful.
For Realmuto and Logan O’Hoppe this is not the case.
O’Hoppe is the flavor of the week with this squad right now, making his way into the prospect map by earning a .920 OPS in Double A Reading this season and making the top 100 lists across the country. Realmuto has battled for the pot this season, giving the Phillies only an 89 wRC + so far while, subjectively, he’s also played a worse defense this year than in the past. Once the year is over, if these two players continue on these trajectories, there will be calls to swap Realmuto and immediately put O’Hoppe in the majors.
This could be a mistake.
First of all, unless the player is a consensual prospect in the top ten of the game, it makes no sense for a catcher to skip levels in the minor leagues. Offensive and defensive demands from teams will continue to be cautious promoting capture prospects over other positions. Adley Rutschman also had to at least see Triple A in baseball before he was promoted. O’Hoppe is not in the same class as Rutschman, so we should assume that he will still need work before he gets to Philadelphia. Much of what the team appreciates at Realmuto has to do with his defensive work and it’s pretty clear O’Hoppe isn’t at that level yet. Scouting reports are all unanimous that while not a bad catch prospect, O’Hoppe still needs some work.
Second, moving Realmuto is easier said than done. There won’t be a team out there that will want to trade their entire contract after an offensive season like this, much less give the Phillies something similar at the same value in exchange (remember, the Phillies have Aaron Rowand more prospects in exchange for Thome). So you have to consider how much the launch staff enjoys throwing at them. That would change once as a group they got used to whoever was behind the backstop, but with so many of them in the prime of their careers right now, it would be wise for the team to put the catcher behind the pot that can get the most of them.
Realmuto’s trading will dominate the conversation around this team throughout the off-season if he doesn’t change his game right now, but doing so for a not quite ready prospect makes no sense for the roster.