Luis Garcia. Image Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
The bench and bullpen have not been strengths for the Phillies in 2014. In an attempt to get those areas straightened out, the Phillies have made a few roster moves in recent days.
But are the moves anything more than re-arranging the chairs on the pool deck? Let’s take a look at each of the moves:
Designated Shawn Camp for assignment
Camp was called up in April to replace Jonathan Pettibone on the roster. (He essentially took B.J. Rosenberg‘s spot in the bullpen once Cole Hamels returned.) In three appearances, Camp gave up seven hits and two earned runs. On the bright side, he didn’t walk anybody!
After he helped contribute to Wednesday’s awfulness, the Phillies had seen enough and designated him for assignment. Camp opted to reject the assignment and become a free agent.
Yes, we’ve likely seen the last of Camp in a Phillies uniform. If you’re having a tough time dealing with that reality, here’s a video so you can always remember the good times:
While he’s been a useful enough pitcher in his career, at 38 years of age, Camp isn’t exactly brimming with upside. I don’t think the Phillies will end up missing him too much.
Recalled Luis Garcia
Everyone’s favorite relief pitcher/hairdresser is back!
After being picked up off the scrap heap last year, Garcia pitched about as well as anyone in their bullpen in the second half of the season. (Faint praise alert!) Surely everyone recalls the time he caught Hanley Ramirez in a rundown!
He seemed to have a good chance to make the major league team out of Spring Training, but he struggled with his control in exhibition games.
After performing well in AAA, the Phillies decided he’ll be the next righthander to try his hand at middle relief. Will he fare any better than his predecessors Brad Lincoln, Justin De Fratus, B.J. Rosenberg, and Camp? It isn’t a good sign that in his first outing, he was knocked around by the Blue Jays.
Designated Freddy Galvis for assignment
This was probably the most unfortunate of the moves.
Before the season, most people figured that Galvis would be a solid bench piece. His hitting might not be at the level of a major league regular, but as a utility infielder who could play multiple positions – and play them exceptionally well – he’d be very valuable.
Unfortunately, while Galvis wasn’t counted on to be a good hitter, the Phillies surely expected him to hit better than .048. Making matters worse, his hitting woes seemed to carry over into other aspects of his game. His defense suffered a bit, and he made an insanely bad base running mistake on Wednesday.
Hopefully, he’ll get his head cleared up and can once again be used as a strong piece off the bench.
Recalled Reid Brignac
Brignac was once a top 100 prospect, but over his six-year career, he hasn’t established himself as much more than a “AAAA” player. He had a good Spring Training, but the Phillies felt that they’d rather go with Jayson Nix as their utility infielder to start the season.
I offer this warning to Brignac: It usually isn’t a good sign if a team decides that a member of the Nix family is a preferable option to you. Then again, the Phillies just can’t seem to get enough of those wacky brothers with the superfluous Y’s!
Brignac has been playing well in the minors, with five home runs to go along with an .871 OPS. Now that Galvis has been demoted, Brignac was the obvious choice to replace him.
I suppose they could have gone with Cesar Hernandez, who probably has more upside. But the team wants Hernandez to continue playing shortstop in the minors. So Brignac got the call.
Brignac may be fine as a bench piece, but I’m worried that he and Nix are redundant. I felt the same way about having both Galvis and Nix on the team. Do they really need two light-hitting utility infielders?
Perhaps the real problem is that the Phillies don’t have any good hitters who they could use instead. Brignac has been hitting as well as any of the other potential replacements, so why not take advantage of the versatility he can provide?
There is a little bit of hope for both the bench and the bullpen as two potential upgrades appear to be almost ready to return from injury.
Darin Ruf could potentially provide a dangerous bat off the bench. And Ethan Martin may actually succeed where so many other right-handed relievers have failed this season. Neither player will likely be a star, but they’ll both probably be better than what the Phillies have used so far.
So this is probably not the last bit of roster shuffling we’ll see this season.
As for those fans who might be feeling depressed about how weak the bottom of the Phillies roster has been, Just remember one thing: As bad as it has been, at least we haven’t had to endure Michael Martinez again!