Good defense. Cavernous ballparks. Quality pitching. Get used to it. These are just a few of the upgrades awaiting the Phillies during the D.C.-free dog days of summer. The next time they face the Nats will be in September. Until then, the Phillies will have 27 outs to play with, not 30 or more, the number Washington spotted them this weekend.
J.C. Romero is set to be activated Wednesday at the conclusion of his 50-game suspension. A major concern this off-season, Romero's absence hurt the Phils a couple times, namely a May 10 loss to the Braves when Jack Taschner blew the game in a situation custom built for Romero. But for the most part, his absence wasn't detrimental.
The Phillies must decide how to integrate Romero back into the roster. Rookie John Mayberry Jr. has been on the bench since the Yankees series and would seem to be a likely candidate. However, losing Mayberry would leave the bench a man short and lacking righthanded pop. Taschner has an option left and can be demoted. Replacing Taschner with Romero is an instant upgrade, without losing Mayberry's bat off the bench.
From now until July, the Phillies and the term "available starting pitching" will fit and become numbingly nauseating. With Brett Myers on the shelf, there are multiple names out in the open. I'll give my opinion soon. For now, here's a nugget from Jon Heyman (from SI.com) - who spoke to Ruben Amaro Jr. - about Jake Peavy.
"Peavy is the logical fit for the Phillies. However, he has full no-trade veto power. To this point, there's no indication Peavy has any interest in coming to the East Coast, especially to a team in a clear hitters' park. (While agent Barry Axelrod publicly said the Phils would fulfill Peavy's goal to play in the National League for a winner, he wasn't as certain about the geographic concern). Plus, in terms of fan passion, Philly is about as opposite from San Diego as he'd find. Amaro declined to discuss Peavy (or anyone currently playing elsewhere), though it's no surprise someone familiar with their thinking said Peavy is at or near the top of their list."
So the Phillies are in a bit of a bind right now. With Brett Myers' impending surgery later this week, the starting rotation now has a hole that it needs to fill. Hard throwing left-hander Antonio Bastardo will take the ball on Tuesday night, but is he really the long term solution?
In baseball trade history, two contradicting ideals collide. There are those who say you "shouldn't mortgage the future" in a trade. But the other notion of "you have to give something to get something" seems more realistic. But how much is too much and when is it OK to trade top youth?
In the case of the Phillies, they shouldn't be afraid to unload the likes of Lou Marson or Carlos Carrasco.