Tough decisions loom for the Phillies coaches as veterans recover and rookies thrive
Despite multiple injuries across the pitching staff the Phillies pitching staff has sustained several young arms have risen to the challenge. Not having Pat Neshek, Tommy Hunter, and Mark Leiter sent alarms off in fans heads, but the performances of the young staff has doused the flames.
Now with the three veterans scheduled to return, the performances of the young arms over hte next couple of weeks will be critical for their future.
Much of the decision making for Gabe Kapler, Rick Kranitz, and Matt Klentak will be based on how many minor league options each player has. Each player can only be sent down to the minors three times and remain on the 40-man roster. Opting a player without any options remaining to the minors leaves that player vulnerable to waivers, obviously something the team would love to avoid with so many young arms.
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Here’s a breakdown of how many minor league options each reliever on the 25-man roster currently has.
Three options remaining: Victor Arano, Hoby Milner, Yacksel Rios
Two options remaining: None
One option remaining: Hector Neris, Edubray Ramos
No options remaining, subject to waivers: Drew Hutchinson, Luis Garcia, Adam Morgan
If the decision was purely based off of the ability to send the player to the minors with little recourse, Arano, Milner, and Rios would be the guys headed to Lehigh Valley.
The toughest part is that those three arms have been among the best of the rotation this year. Arano and Rios have allowed only one combined run this year, and Arano hasn’t allowed a baserunner in seven and a third innings with nine strikeouts.
Milner is one of two lefty specialists in the bullpen, and after a rough start to the year he’s calmed down. Appearing in 10 games this year, Milner has only allowed a run in two games, most recently giving up three against Atlanta.
Ramos has an ERA of 1.04 in nine games with 11 strikeouts and only three walks in nine games.
Hutchinson feels to be the easiest decision, meaning he’s off the 40-man roster and likely no longer with the organization. Considering few expected him to make the team, his future is likely bleak in Philadelphia.
So if Hutchinson is number one of three bullpen arms gone to make room for Hunter, the next two options are even tougher. The organization will likely run with the hot hand, but the options could mean a demotion for Arano and/or Rios, despite their near perfection.
The notion puts these young arms on pins and needles and could lead to them trying to pitch too perfect, ultimately leading to their demise. Someone has to go to make way for the pricy veterans, but it’s comforting to know the Phillies have bullpen arms in the minor league system ready to join at a moments notice and lead the next generation of teams.