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Bench Still Glaring Weakness Even As Phillies Succeed

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, May 05, 2014 03:00 PM | Comments: 23
Analysis

The Phillies enter play today just a game and a half back of the first-place Atlanta Braves. Losers of six straight, the Braves have brought themselves back to the rest of the NL East pack.

To their credit, the Phillies have been playing solid ball for most of the season, keeping themselves in the race early. Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Carlos Ruiz have given the squad above-average to career-year type seasons so far while Marlon Byrd, Ryan Howard and Ben Revere have played about as expected. Cody Asche and Domonic Brown have been slow out of the gate but both have youth and time on their side. The most glaring weakness has been the Phillies bench.

The good news? The Phillies are just a few moves away from correcting this and they likely have the talent to do so in house.

Here’s how:

Demote Galvis, Promote Brignac

Reid Brignac was a Baseball America Top 100 Prospect four times over from 2007 through 2010, ranked as high as #17. Brignac, now 28, spends most of his days in Allentown hitting clean-up for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs after stops with the Rays and Yankees. Brignac is hitting .283/.364/.457 with 8 2B and 2 HR in a not-particularly hitter-friendly Coca Cola Park.

Brignac is an upgrade over both Jayson Nix and Freddy Galvis. Nix, to his credit, has done little to hurt the Phillies off the bench (worth -0.1 fWAR with a .182/.229/.273 line) where as the young Galvis, still only 24, has been worth -0.8 fWAR, ranking second-worst in baseball in just 34 PA. Galvis’ futility is kind of stunning for its inverted efficiency and he may be the type of player that needs to play every day to become somewhat of a reliable bench option.

(Note: Nate Schierholtz is the player that is currently the worst player in baseball at -1.0. )

DFA Mayberry, Promote Henson

Tyler Henson had a monster seven RBI game last night. The former Orioles’ farmhand was signed prior to the 2013 season and has done nothing but hit since his arrival. Because of a roster crunch, Henson has been forced back into the outfield for the ‘Pigs where he has flourished from the right side of the plate. In 85 plate appearances, Henson is hitting .299/.349/.494 with 2 HR and 4 SB.

At 26 years old, it is now or never for Henson. Henson has been swinging a hot bat, can play both corner infield and outfield spots, as well as second base, and has found speed on the bases that he hadn’t shown consistently since 2009. It is time to get Henson on the bench and go in a different direction than Mayberry (.167/.286/.333 in 28 PA).

The only two limitations is that both Brignac and Henson would require 40-man roster moves to accommodate their theoretical promotions. Henson for Mayberry would be a clean swap but an additional move would be needed to promote Brignac to already-full 40-man roster. Luis Garcia would be the ideal person to try to sneak through waivers.

Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

About Ian Riccaboni

Ian Riccaboni has written 826 articles on Phillies Nation.

Ian's athletic achievements include getting stuffed by NBA center Aaron Gray in high school and hitting .179 over four years for NYU against D-III, NAIA, JuCo, and NCBA schools. Ian hopes his athletic successes will help him achieve his dream of becoming the underground Bob Uecker.

 
 
  • Posts: 32 BeyondInfinity

    Avatar of BeyondInfinity

    couldnt agree more, apart from the bullpen that seems like a winning squad to me, especially now ryno is sitting asche out against lefties all the time and nix sucks hard, brignac or henson and eventually ruf will be a welcome change to the bench

     
  • Posts: 0 Hogey's Role

    Absolutely brilliant article, I wholeheartedly agree with what you said, the only thing left to say is:

    Ian Riccaboni for phillies G.M.

     
  • Posts: 0 Bruce

    I like both suggestions. Galvis isn’t cutting it but Amaro seems to love him and although I like Mayberry he isn’t getting it done.

    Although these are minor moves it shows an attempt to move in the right direction.

     
  • Posts: 0 crow

    It’s hard to see the Phillies eating Mayberry’s contract a month into the season. And I wonder if Garcia could really be snuck through waivers given that his ERA currently sits at 0.00. He is a lively candidate to be brought up, I think, if one of the pen guys has to go on the shelf for some reason.

     
  • Posts: 0 Scotty Ingerton

    I like both changes, but I doubt that Ruben does. He loves JMJ!

     
  • Posts: 0 Laura Hoogerwerff

    I like the idea or both moves. While I like Mayberry he is not getting it done consistently. We need right handed pop in a left handed heavy lineup. I don’t have a problem with either or both moves.

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    There are usually reasons why certain players don’t make the opening day roster. Brignac was sent down even though Galvis was placed on the DL, so there must be something questionable in his play. These suggested new bench players aren’t exactly young, either, at 26 and 28. Because a guy does well at AAA doesn’t mean he’ll do well in the NL.

    While I’ll agree that the Phils’ bench is a vacuum when it comes to offense, they’re decent on defense and I treally wonder how much better off the team would be should they start roster shuffling so soon.

    One other thought is this: if they did dump Mayberry (at a cost of $1+ million) and dragged up Brignac and Henson, what happens if they don’t cut it? Do they have options left, or would they potentially be lost to the waiver wire?

    Right now, I’d be way more concerned about the miserable bullpen than I’d be about the bench. I don’t think the bench has cost any blown saves or allowed any inherited runners to score.

     
    • Posts: 0 matt

      I agree that the bullpen is more of an issue than the bench at this point in the season.

       
  • Posts: 0 Jacob Muran

    I dislike both moves.. Nix should be the player to go.. Galvis provides great late inning D.. Mayberry is a versatile defender who is needed to backup Ryan late in games as well. Does Gwynn really have a role if Sandberg isn’t going to play him?

     
    • Posts: 0 Hogey's Role

      Gwynn has played quite a bit, he’s the one playing cf when revere gets a break, when ruf gets back he’ll be able to back up for Howard, and Mayberry won’t be needed after that

       
  • Posts: 0 Jacob Muran

    Gwynn isn’t playing much now that Revere is “healthy”.. Ruf is not a good defender anywhere on the field.. Stop

     
    • Posts: 0 Hogey's Role

      And Mayberry is?? Get a brain you 13 year old

       
    • Posts: 0 Hogey's Role

      Gwynn 23 games 45 plate appearances
      Mayberry 17 games 28 plate appearances

      Gee Gwynn sure doesn’t play much, wow, he just started on Saturday

       
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr

    The Bullpen is a glaring weakness. I think Ian realizes this but i believe what he is trying to say the bench could be more easier repaired. I do agree with one of the posters. Garcia is hot right now and may not so easily clear waivers. I dont hate Mayberry per say but he is a fav target of bloggers/posters. AAAberry as he is known. Gwynn has been holding his own as a back up but i wonder. He is another individual that is highly suspect as well. I believe the guy that needs to be worked in is Cesar. I understand he is learning to play 3B. Not sure if the Phils dont want to burn his options or how that works.

     
  • Posts: 0 J

    1 word
    “Frandsen”

    what a bad move, right handed pinch hitter that can play anywhere and led the league in pinch hits last yr. smh and cost i believe 1 mil.

    ruben has to go. only thing he ever did was lee (which he messed up) and halladay which didnt last as long as we wanted.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      There was nothing wrong with the Frandsen move. When Galvis got hurt, they needed a shortstop, and that became Nix. I’m glad he landed somewhere and is doing ok, but the move was fine.

       
      • Posts: 0 J

        @schmenkman, dude nix stinks galvis stinks except his glove, mayberry stinks, frandsen worked his tail off to get to where he was, played great defensively at 3rd when he was thrown there, was a hard worker, already mentioned his league leading pinch hits with i think 17 of them. Is better then mayberry and we dumped him like he was trash and gave mayberry 1mil. im glad he landed on his feet in washington as he deserved much more. if you had him ruf (if healthy), ceasar and one other bat we would be fine and no one would be writing about our we bench. we would be focused on our bullpen. which should also be fixed in house with garcia coming up and i think the kids names is giles who i heard is tearing it up. correct me on that if im wrong.

         
      • Posts: 0 George

        I second that, Schmenk. Frandsen had the vast majority of his hits early in the year, he can’t play SS, which the Phils needed at the time, and he’s only barely adequate defensively anywhere else.

        He seemed to be well like by fans, though, and I’m sure that figures into the sentiments of some comments.

        I’d rather not dwell on Frandsen’s perceived value, but prefer to wish him the best and hope that his replacements in Philadelpia start to perform better, particularly Galvis.

         
      • Posts: 0 J

        i dont mind frandsen not being here but the people that are on the bench now should not even be in the majors in my eyes. which i feel are not better then frandsen. but like you said no need to dwell on frandsen. just think much better players have to be out there then the ones sitting on our bench.

         
      • Posts: 0 Hogey's Role

        Frandsen actually can and has played shortstop, he just never had to do it for us, he was a very viable bench option and a good pinch hitter, and he would have played a possible shortstop…
        The move to release him or nontender him really was a head scratcher, I guess they thought galvis was ready to be a backup, or maybe it came down to paying 1 million for either Mayberry or frandsen, I dont really know…. But the fact they got rid of him only to pick up nix later on, really makes you shake your head… And nix is absolutely terrible, if almost rather have mini mart back

         
      • Posts: 0 Hogey's Role

        Should say a passable shortstop…
        And later on, I’d almost rather have mini mart… Stupid smartphone

         
      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        Hogey, I disagree on Frandsen playing a passable shortstop. He’s played in 32 games in the majors: 3 in 2006, 22 in 2007, 7 in 2009, and 0 since then. And his stats there (in a small sample) are pretty bad. In the minors he’s played there in 3 games in the last 2+ years.

         
      • Posts: 0 Hogey's Role

        He wouldn’t be a gold glover by any means, but passable in the sense that the very few times he would play short he would more than likely provide more value overall than nix

         
 
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