When the Phillies hired Dave Dombrowski to be the President of Baseball Operations in December 2020, there were many questions about how Dombrowski was going to fill out the roster to finally start to turn the Phillies organization around.
Now that we are over two months into the season with over 65 games played, it’s time to evaluate the moves Dombrowski has made. After looking at the starting rotation, it’s time to look at the bench.
To help fix the bench, Dave Dombrowski made several moves acquiring Brad Miller, Matt Joyce, and re-signing Ronald Torreyes.
The return of Brad Miller
Miller was with the Phillies back in 2019 and recorded a .941 OPS and 12 home runs in 66 games. The veteran infielder provided positional versatility and an offensive spark off the bench.
To get a chance to be an everyday player, Miller signed with the St. Louis Cardinals. In the 60-game 2020 season, Miller got what he wanted, recording a 122 OPS+ in 48 games.
Miller then decided to return to a bench role with the Phillies and is now their top bench bat on the roster. Due to several injured teammates, he has gotten a lot of chances to be in the lineup. Miller has played in 54 games so far this year and has a 110 OPS+.
Miller has also provided much-needed versatility to a very injured Phillies team. He has already played several positions including both outfield spots, second base, along first and 3rd base so far this season. The circumstances of these opportunities are unfortunate, but Miller has stepped up for his teammates in a big way.
Miller has been a great addition to the roster. But if the Phillies go into the trade deadline looking to sell, multiple teams should be lining up to acquire him for their bench.
Matt Joyce joins the Phillies on a Minor League Deal
Joyce was brought in on a minor league deal with a chance to make the roster. He used to be a reliable everyday outfielder, but as he’s gotten older, he has had to move to a bench role.
Unfortunately, Joyce doesn’t offer much versatility; he can only play both corner spots in the outfield and has struggled offensively. In 36 games, he’s only hitting .100 with a .498 OPS and a pair of home runs.
The 14-year veteran has really only survived on the roster due to lack of depth; the Phillies simply don’t have better options to take his spot.
However, with Adam Haseley going through his rehab assignment, Joyce’s seat on the bench could be in jeopardy. On the other hand, it might be worth it to keep Haseley in Triple-A and let Joyce sit on the bench and get spotty playing time.
Overall, Joyce hasn’t worked well for Dave Dombrowski’s roster. At the same time, it’s difficult to be strict with grading him, since he was never supposed to be more than a bench piece.
Former Yankee Ronald Torreyes.
Ronald Torreyes was signed on the team last season but didn’t make the roster. He’s one of a few former Yankees on the team, along with David Hale, Didi Gregorius, and of course, their manager Joe Girardi, who managed the Yankees from 2008-2017.
Torreyes is one of what fans like to call “Girardi guys,” as fans questioned the decision for him to make the team. Fans wanted someone younger like Nick Maton to make the roster, but the Phillies chose to give Torreyes a spot on the 40-man roster.
But Torreyes has provided some bench stability as a solid infield option while teammates like Didi Gregorious have been out. In Saturday’s game, he led the Phillies in a 13-6 victory over the Giants, with a 2-run double and solo home run. Torreyes is now slashing .278 with a .735 OPS and doing a lot better than anyone would’ve thought when he made the team.
Keeping Torreyes has been a really good bench move by Dombrowski; he doesn’t cost much and is someone Girardi can throw in the lineup and know what he is getting. With a roster full of the unexpected, Torreyes is someone Girardi can count on:
"“He does so many things right. People say, ‘Why do you love Torreyes?’ He’s a ballplayer. That’s what he is. He really understands the game and I trust him wherever I put him. I don’t ever have to worry about him being prepared. That’s a luxury for a manager. I don’t know where we’d be without him.” – Joe Girardi"
The bench moves have had some success and have given the Phillies more depth than they would have had without them. Dombrowski does deserve some praise for getting some help on the bench.