Quick hits for June 2nd:
-AAA Lehigh Valley reliever Mike Koplove opted out of his minor league contract on June 1st, and is now free to negotiate with other teams. He could very well be the Nationals' closer, by the next time the Phillies face the Nats. It's a shame that his 1.14ERA/1.10 WHIP (23.2 IP) couldn't get him some time with Fuqua and Dubee's Plus Eight. It probably wouldn't have hurt to at least recall Koplove for a few days this weekend, rather than rookie Sergio Escalona. There has been speculation that the Phillies attempted to option reliever Jack Taschner to AAA earlier in the season, in order to recall Koplove, but the move was squelched by the producers of MLBN's reality show ("The Pen") on the Phillies' bullpen. This seems the most likely reason that Taschner, the southpaw with reverse splits, wasn't replaced by the righty, Koplove.
-AAA reliever Gary Majewski also has the ability to opt out of his minor league deal, but hasn't done so yet. Majewski has been less effective (4.00 ERA/1.41 WHIP, 27 IP) than Koplove, but could likely also find a spot somewhere, in MLB's pitching-thin ranks. I could not find any indication of whether Tyler Walker (1.98 ERA/.51 WHIP, 13.2 IP) has a similar agreement, but he may be better of staying put, regardless, as he has struggled with injury concerns.
-When The Supreme Being created Twitter, he/she/it definitely had in mind fans who want to know of roster moves, such as Koplove's, in the timeliest manner possible.
-In order to open up a roster spot for Tuesday night's starter, rookie Antonio Bastardo, the Phillies returned John Mayberry, Jr. to AAA. With J.C. Romero finally being freed, it seemed like a Free Jr.! campaign would be next. Unfortunately for the rookie, he wasn't set free from the MLB bench, he was set free from MLB. He will likely be back, probably when the Phils need to add a DH to the lineup. Manuel really needs to be utilizing his bench players more, and giving his starters some rest. The Phils will need all of their positional players in optimal condition in the playoffs, particularly considering the struggles of the starting rotation.
-Top prospect P Kyle Drabek was promoted to AA Reading, and P Gustavo Chacin was promoted to AAA Lehigh Valley. Drabek continues to impress, and build his trade value. Hopefully, if the Phillies have to deal Drabek, to upgrade their MLB rotation, it will be for a Roy Halladay-type, not for a Brad Penny-type.
-AAA starter Kyle Kendrick must be pretty frustrated, after seeing Andrew Carpenter, Sergio Escalona, and, now, Antonio Bastardo called to MLB ahead of him. Hopefully, he'll be inspired to work more on his secondary pitches. (Though his best move might be to compete for the New York Jets' QB job.)
-Either Jack Taschner or Sergio Escalona is expected to be optioned to AAA on Wednesday, to open a roster spot for J.C. Romero. I'd bet it will be the rookie, Escalona. Another possibility would be to demote Antonio Bastardo after Tuesday night's game.
What I would do is:
1. Option Bastardo for Romero on Wednesday.
2. Hold Carlos Carrasco back from his scheduled start with AAA Lehigh Valley on Wednesday.
3. Start Cole Hamels (normal day) on Thursday.
4. Option Escalona for Carrasco on Friday. (Escalona will get more regular work in AAA.)
5. Start Carrasco in LA on Friday night, giving Jamie Moyer and Joe Blanton the starts on Saturday and Sunday, each with an extra day of rest.
6. Start J.A. Happ and Cole Hamels, on Tuesday and Wednesday against the rival New York Mets, each with an extra day of rest (Monday is an off day).
7. Next Thursday's start against the Mets could be taken by either Carrasco (extra day of rest) or Moyer (normal rest), depending on how Carrasco's start against LA goes. (I'd really like to keep Moyer out of the Mets series.)
-Are Phillies Assistant GM Scott Proefrock and I the only ones obsessed with the timing of personnel moves, the long-term ramifications of short-term personnel moves, and all the myriad considerations that go into even the most innocuous-looking transaction? Perhaps.