There’s nothing more exciting than a Phillies pinch-hit home run or a walk-off single from your backup catcher. That doesn’t happen without a stable of bench bats.
Just ask Matt Stairs.
And now that the MLB lockout has come to a close, we need to start talking final 26-man roster. Heading into Spring Training this year (finally), the Phillies have some options already on their roster that could crack the Opening Day team.
Assuming the Phillies opt to carry the max fourteen pitchers, that leaves four bench spots, and I have some ideas I’d love to run by the team, beginning with a former NL East rival.
Son of a (Phillies) Bench
Camargo didn’t quite stick in Atlanta, but he’s just three years and 148 games removed from 19 homers and a .806 OPS. Now, the Phillies have him in camp at $1.4MM with a year of arbitration eligibility for 2023 if things go well.
At 28-years-old, the former Brave has played every defensive position outside of centerfield and catcher. That level of versatility, along with his offensive upside, could turn Camargo into the type of fan-favorite that rivals Brad Miller.
And although he spent the majority of 2021 in AAA, a .958 OPS should impress at any level. Buy low and cross your fingers.
It will be an adjustment in a world post-Andrew Knapp. After all, fans enjoyed five long years from the switch-hitting backstop, but here’s hoping Stubbs can fill his shoes.
We don’t know much with only 87 Major League plate appearances, but Stubbs’ .763 Minors OPS is relatively promising. Truthfully, you can’t get much worse than Knapp’s 2021 OPS of .429, so the stakes are low for the new Phil.
Given that J.T. Realmuto was behind the plate in 72% of the Phillies games in 2021, Stubbs won’t need to reinvent the wheel, but with the DH making its way to the National League, he should see increased opportunities.
If he can’t figure it out, the Phillies’ 11th ranked prospect Logan O’Hoppe will be right on his heels. It’s nice to have options.
In minimal time, he provided one of the most exhilarating moments of the Phillies 2021 campaign.
Williams can slot in all over the field, which gives him the upper hand over some of Philadelphia’s younger ‘core.’ Offensively, his .245 average isn’t much to write home about. Still, his .311 BAbip ranked 7% higher than the league average.
He makes contact, and when he does, he reaches base above the league average. It’s nice to have speed, especially with Roman Quinn settling into a new life in Miami. Williams could start the season in Triple-A depending on any potential moves made by Dave Dombrowski, but regardless, he should have some memorable moments again in 2022.
He will be cheap, on a minor-league deal, and available to play every position outside of catcher. His .209 batting average from last season doesn’t inspire much confidence, but a 0.5 dWAR means he can still field.
He can really do it all.
A former All-Star with postseason experience and a comfortability with sliding in as a role player is the type of glue the dugout could use. I’ll start drafting up the contract.
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire