Jayson Werth was added to the All-Star game, as an injury replacement. Werth's addition means all three Phillies' starting outfielders are on the All-Star team. Werth was a worthy candidate, and his ability to play center field was likely needed on the roster. Watching Ryan Braun play center would be enjoyable, but this game COUNTS, so Manager Charlie Manuel needs some positional flexibility. (If the National League wins, the Phillies get the extra home game in the World Series. This means that Roy Halladay would face Justin Verlander at Citizens Bank Park, rather than Comerica Park, in Game 7. Additionally, an NL win would give the Eagles and Flyers each an extra $5 million of salary cap room.)
Raul Ibanez was activated, and added to the Phillies' 25-Man Roster on Friday. Chris Coste was designated for assignment, and was claimed on outright waivers by the Houston Astros.
This move is a somewhat baffling, and rather perturbing. Starting catcher Carlos Ruiz was not available on Friday, due to injury, leaving the Phillies with one available catcher. Ibanez did not play, as the Pirates had a southpaw on the mound. Why not keep Ibanez on the DL until Ruiz was ready, or at least until Saturday, when Pittsburgh starts a northpaw?
John Mayberry, Jr. was kept on the Phils' roster as a right-handed pinch-hitter/the (fourth?) of five and one-eighth outfielders. (Note: Eric Bruntlett is the .125.) Mayberry is better defensively than the alternatives, and provides a feasible right-handed bench bat, but would he be better-served playing every day in AAA?
Did the Phillies ditch the wrong backup backstop? Quite possibly. Paul Bako is better defensively than Coste, but far inferior offensively. Bako (.457 OPS) is far inferior offensively to most poor-hitting pitchers. If Phillies' General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. had learned anything from my fervent use of violent hyperbolic language to describe Bako's ineptitude with the bat, the GM would have DFA'd Gabor.
Coste (.724 OPS) had, obviously, fallen out of favor with the Phillies, as Bako was taking his starts, and Eric Bruntlett (.416 OPS) was seen as a superior pinch-hitting option. Even if the Phillies place a higher premium on defense from their backup catcher, Coste's considerable superiority at the plate should have saved his roster spot.
Hopefully, Lou Marson will be promoted from Lehigh Valley (AAA), and make the majority of the starts, if Carlos Ruiz needs to go on the DL at any point. Actually, the Phillies should consider recalling Marson to replace Bako, regardless of Ruiz' status. Giving two or three starts a week to Bako doesn't seem like a very good idea.
Perhaps an even worse idea than giving Eric Bruntlett 150 at-bats a season.