Tuesday afternoon brought on a barrage of Phillies moves. Jerad Eickhoff was sent to the 10-day DL with an upper-back strain and a pair of veterans, reliever Jeanmar Gomez and outfielder Michael Saunders, were designated for assignment. To take their place, the Phils recalled 1B/OF Brock Stassi, OF Cameron Perkins, and LHP Hoby Milner.
These moves come as a bit of a surprise, as less than a week ago GM Matt Klentak talked about the faith he had in Michael Saunders to turn things around, citing him as a guy who can “carry a team for a month”. Additionally, just a season ago, Jeanmar Gomez was the Phillies’ go-to guy in the ninth inning, notching 37 saves for the club.
Today’s moves are a stark reminder that the veteran additions of the past two seasons have not worked out as the team had hoped. Aside from Howie Kendrick and Pat Neshek, it is safe to say that the Phillies veteran acquisitions are not panning out.
Clay Buchholz made just 2 starts before tearing a flexor tendon, his estimated recovery time is 4-6 months. Joaquin Benoit already has 3 blown saves and is nowhere near the pitcher he was a season ago. Jeremy Hellickson’s ERA sits at 4.91, a far cry from last year when some would argue was his peak trade value.
Klentak’s original plan was to bring on these veterans to take the pressure off of the younger guys. Now, the team finds themselves replacing some of those veterans with more young players. Although Stassi and Perkins could be nice players for the team, they are not the premier prospects that Phillies fans have been wondering about.
When is the optimal time to call up Rhys Hoskins? When will Roman Quinn and Nick Williams be ready to contribute at the Major League level? Are there more moves to be made? Were today’s moves a precursor of what is to come?
Whatever the case, the time between now and the July 31st trade deadline–however it pans out– will be crucial for second-year GM Matt Klentak and the direction of the franchise.