Greg Dobbs cleared waivers Wednesday, accepting a minor league demotion one day after being designated for assignment. He will report to Lehigh Valley, the Phillies struggling Triple-A affiliate, on Friday.
The Iron Pigs have compiled a 29-42 record, second worst among the fourteen International League squads, so the demotion of Greg Dobbs could be beneficial to both parties. Why? I’ll tell you why!
- Dobbs could participate in a platoon at third base with the righthanded Cody Ransom, who has displayed power against same-handed pitching (13 homers vs RH) but not gotten on base enough (.231/.289.)
- Dobbs’ ability to play multiple positions (albeit poorly) will allow him to see some time at first base, second base, third base, and heck, maybe even some shortstop if the Iron Pigs are feelin’ frisky.
- It will be beneficial to Dobbs because he will see regular at-bats. He may not play every day, but he will see more extensive action than in Philadelphia.
- On the days that Dobbs does not start, he will likely be called on to pinch-hit. Pinch-hitting is an extremely difficult task, so if Dobbs can have some success in that department against inferior pitching, his regained confidence could allow him to be better suited for September. Confidence is such a huge part of this game.
This is the ideal scenario for the Phillies. They get to keep the once-productive Dobbs, but they don’t have to waste a roster spot on him, nor do they have to house a redundant left-handed bench bat who has not done what he was signed to do.
Over the last few months, many of us – myself, included – have developed a form of near-hatred for Dobbs. It was somewhat warranted, as he is 10-for-his-last-79 in pinch hit appearances, but the loathing was magnified by the Phillies’ recent struggles.
A trip out of town is the perfect solution for the team and its fans, and will serve as a blessing in disguise for Dobbs. Mark it down.
The 25th Roster Spot
The second part of this article will focus on what the Phillies should do with the final roster spot, currently being filled by Juan Castro. You could make an argument that Mike Zagurski is the 25th man and Castro is the 24th, but who really cares? First things first…
Valdez > Castro
Juan Castro started out hot and Wilson Valdez didn’t. So, naturally, we developed an affinity for Castro. However, that fondness decreased as Castro’s productivity dwindled, and almost every Philadelphian is now a member of Team Valdez.
Simply put, Valdez has won the city over on merit. Sure, he hits into way too many double plays (11 in 116 at-bats) and has no patience whatsoever at the dish (ONE WALK in 121 plate appearances…ONE WALK!)
But Valdez is a wizard with the glove and represents a better chance of offensive productivity than Castro. Valdez has more speed, range, and a better arm than Castro in the field, and can actually drive the ball once in a while (20% line drives.) Contrarily, Castro hits everything weakly (13% line drives, tons of weak grounders.)
Valdez is better offensively, better defensively (although Castro isn’t bad), and they are each extremely impatient. Advantage: Valdez. He should stay on as Jimmy’s backup if our beloved shortstop can remain healthy. That leads us to the question of:
What to Do With Juan?
Castro is due a mere $750,000 this season with a club option for next year that the Phillies likely will not pick up. By designating Dobbs for assignment, the front office showed that it is willing to demote an underperforming player with a major league contract, so long as that contract is not, say, as pricy as Raul Ibanez’.
If, in a week or so, Jimmy Rollins is healthy and able to sprint out of the batter’s box without aggravating his calf, it will no longer be necessary to keep two replacement-level backup shortstops.
In that case, it would be wise to designate Castro for assignment. He will likely go unclaimed, as did Dobbs and Valdez several weeks ago, but even if he does get claimed, the loss is not substantial. In a bind, the Phillies could call up the likes of Ransom or Brian Bocock to fill in.
The spot vacated by Castro should go to a righthanded bench bat. So, who are the options?
The Cubs have a glut of outfielders and will surely be sellers by the trade deadline. They are looking to unload either Nady or Kosuke Fukudome. Kosuke’s large contract is a major hurdle for any possible deal, but Nady is in the midst of an inexpensive one-year pact.
Nady could be had for a mid-level prospect or perhaps two low-level prospects, and he is just the type of player the Phillies need. Nady has been productive when healthy and has always feasted on lefthanded pitching, to the tune of .302/.379/.459.
Nady could platoon in leftfield with Raul Ibanez or be the first righty off the bench. The Phillies would only have to spend ~$1.5M on the remainder of Nady’s one-year deal. If you ask me, this makes more sense than signing Pedro Martinez. The bench is a bigger weakness and Nady could provide a ton of value for very little money and traded-talent.
Plus, as Pat Gallen pointed out, Nady’s first name would make him a fan-favorite in Philly. “Think about all the X-Man shirts they’d sell!” – Pat
If you’re unfamiliar with Encarnacion, he is a relatively young third baseman who has some power but doesn’t hit for average, and is atrocious defensively. He was traded for Scott Rolen last season but things didn’t work out in Toronto.
In his career, Encarnacion has had flashes of tremendous pop, but his putrid performance in the field and inability to get on base enough derailed what was once a promising career.
Encarnacion was DFA’d by the Blue Jays on Monday and will likely report to Triple-A. He’s a name, but this doesn’t appear to be a fit in Philly. Encarnacion plays one position (poorly) and doesn’t represent a huge upgrade.
Phils don’t need him. “Very few teams” have even contacted the Pirates about him, per GM Neal Huntington. He was awful in limited time in Pittsburgh this season and would not be an upgrade over Castro or Valdez. So, to those of you who have expressed interest on Twitter, stawp it (Peter Griffin-voice.)
And while we’re at it, can we all please accept that Jermaine Dye is not an option?! I constantly see people bring up his name, but these are the facts:
1) Dye wants to play everyday.
2) Dye overvalues himself – he wants more money than any team was willing to give him this offseason.
3) He is not in baseball shape. It’s almost July and you don’t want to give a guy his Spring Training at-bats during the teeth of a pennant race.
So, the solution is simple — trady for Nady.