The Phillies need to stop “Retooling” and start winning part 2: Call them up

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I don’t generally like to make articles longer than they already are. I tend to be long worded as it is, and 1000 additional words is often times too many. But this post needs to be written as a follow up to my most recent article. If you haven’t read it yet, I ask that you do and then come back to this one. It’ll make more sense.

The Phillies need to stop “Retooling” and start winning

Now that you have a basis of the first article, here’s part 2.

My frustrations have boiled over to a point that they can no longer be contained. I hate to be the doom and gloom reporter, the guy who just bashes the Phillies post after post. This year, however, it’s almost been unavoidable. The team has now lost 19 of their last 23, and lost, most recently, back to back games to rookie Rockies’ starters, all while giving up 8 runs in each game. It’s May 23, and it’s time to do something to this roster.

As I hope you’ve read by now in the last piece, you clearly know my feelings on farm systems. Hint, I don’t like them. But the Phillies have, what many consider, a pretty impressive minor league system after making trades to shed the contracts of Hamels, Papelbon, Utley and Revere over the last few years. So what to do with these players who are sitting in the minor leagues that I’ve very openly said are useless? Simple: call them all up to the big leagues.

That’s right, bring anybody and everybody the team feels is close to being Major League ready and put them on the roster. What do they have to lose? The team is now 15-28, tied for last place in the National League East. How much worse could it get? Outright last place? It doesn’t really matter at this point whether the guys on the roster are losing or the guys in the minor leagues come up and lose. The team isn’t going to stunt their growth by showing them Major League pitching. In fact, it may have the opposite effect for the club, who will get a chance to see if some, or any, of their young players have Major League talent.

Aaron Altherr has proven he belongs on the ball club. Tommy Joseph has been much better as of late and may have figured something out. Other than those two, who on this roster has truly solidified themselves on the club? Nobody, that’s who. Odubel Herrera is hitting .238 with an OBP of just .289. You’ve likely read my sentiment on Maikel Franco. Michael Saunders has proven his first half of last season is more like the outlier and less like the norm. Freddy Galvis is impressive with the glove, but nothing spectacular at the dish.

So call them all up and let them prove themselves. J.P. Crawford, Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Roman Quinn, Dylan Cozens, Rhys Hoskins, Jesmuel Valentine (prior to his injury today): call Every. Single. One. Of. Them. Up. Because, again, at the end of the day, does .240 from Herrera or .240 from Nick Williams mean anything different? Afterall, these players are the reasons the Phillies have made so many trades over the last few years, aren’t they?

And that’s just the offense. The pitching hasn’t been very good either. Maybe they’re putting too much pressure on themselves because the offense hasn’t been very good. Maybe they’re trying to prove they can cut it at the Major League level. Maybe it’s one of a thousand reasons. Whatever, the reason, the pitching staff has struggled.

Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin, and Vince Velasquez all have ERA’s over 5.00. Jarad Eickhoff isn’t too far below that, with a 4.70 ERA this season. They’re all young and have much left to prove, but until the Phillies can find a group of five starting pitchers that will solidify themselves as the core of the rotation, it’s time to make move after move through the system. Give them all starts at the Major League level. Give Sixto Sanchez and Ricardo Pinto, Mark Appel and Ben Lively all starts. Rotate them all in and out until you find consistency.

The flip side argument, especially for the pitchers, is understandable. It’s difficult to find a rhythm when you’re not starting on a consistent basis. I’ll definitely understand your reserve if that is your belief, because, you’re right, it’s difficult to continue to throw at a top level when you’re not competing consistently.

One argument I won’t accept, however, is the one that says, “It’ll mess with their confidence”, because they’re not little kids who all need to play. This is the greatest baseball league in the world, and if you can’t cut it, get out. I don’t want to hear that Eflin might not ever develop if you shake his confidence or Velasquez needs to just work through some things. I don’t believe that to be true. I know everyone’s reserve to let him go, or to pull him from the rotation because of the similarities to Nolan Ryan, and how he found success after a few bumpy years.

But Velasquez is far more likely to turn out to be a guy that never got his stuff together as he to become a 5,000 plus strikeout guy. I could be wrong. I hope I’m wrong. But I don’t want to take my chances. If Vinny ended up leaving the Phillies for someone who short term was a better solution, but eventually had a stellar career, I could sleep soundly knowing the Phillies at least tried. That’s why I, unlike many, never had an issue with the all the trades the team made in the late 2000’s-early 2010’s to try and get back to being World Champions. They took their shot, it didn’t work. So be it.

Let’s wrap this thing back up that went way off the grid. Let’s give this thing a shot and call more minor leaguers up. It’ll at least give the Phillies an idea of what they actually have. Because, remember, until farm system players prove they belong at the Major League level, they don’t mean anything to a ball club.

 

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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