Phillies Trade Chips: Piece and Chooch

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Jun 29, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz (right) and first baseman Ryan Howard (center) joke with Arizona Diamondbacks mascot Baxter at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 29, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz (right) and first baseman Ryan Howard (center) joke with Arizona Diamondbacks mascot Baxter at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mar 11, 2016; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros first baseman Reed (80) hits a double to right center in the second inning of a spring training baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Osceola County Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 11, 2016; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros first baseman Reed (80) hits a double to right center in the second inning of a spring training baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Osceola County Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

NICE ‘PIECE’ FOR YOUNG ‘STROS?

The Houston Astros are sitting at 49-41, just 4.5 games back of Texas in the AL West race, but also only one game behind Toronto and tied with the Blue Jays in the loss column of the race for the final AL Wildcard spot.

While the Astros do have some pop, with six players sporting double-digit home run totals, their 1st base production is lacking.

Rookie and highly considered young 1st baseman A.J. Reed is thus far hitting just .143/.244/.314 over the first 13 games and 35 at-bats since his promotion.

Miguel Gonzalez has just seven homers and 25 RBI in 263 ABs, and Tyler White has seven homers and 20 RBI in 166 ABs.

Again, this is a situation where it is not unreasonable to think that ‘The Big Piece’ could actually take over a starting role for a contender, either as a 1st baseman or in the Designated Hitter spot.

Perhaps Howard could bring back someone like 25-year old utility infielder Nolan Fontana. He has no bat, but is a nice infielder with experience at 2nd base and on the left side.

He could become an organizational piece at AAA Lehigh Valley, ready for a call-up should any injuries happen to the big league infield depth.

Next: RUIZ TO THE RANGERS

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