It was September 1st. The day when the Phillies could expand their active roster, by as many as fifteen players, and reinforce the tiring bullpen and the ineffective bench. The Phillies had a wide variety of replacement-level options for recall, and they summoned...Jack Taschner. And...that's it. Yikes.
On the plus side, the Phils have indicated that more recalls are coming. Some pitchers (Rodrigo Lopez? Kyle Kendrick? Drew Carpenter? Steven Register? Sergio Escalona?) should be up shortly. A catcher (Tuffy Gosewisch? Paul Hoover?), an outfielder (John Mayberry, Jr.?), and a player with some speed (Rich Thompson? Quintin Berry?) should also get the call. Players have to be on the 40-Man roster to be recalled (Gosewisch, Hoover, Thompson, and Berry are not.), but Joe Bisenius and Jack Taschner are easily DFAable. Rehabbing relievers Brett Myers, Clay Condrey, and Antonio Bastardo are also probable additions.
A look at some of the recent Phillies' transactions should give us an idea of their likely thought process:
Jack Taschner is recalled from Lehigh Valley (AAA). Given that he was a dismal failure with the Phillies this season, didn't think we'd see him on the parent club again. But, he put up some good numbers in AAA, and the Phillies are paying him an MLB salary, so they might as well let him eat some low leverage innings. Besides, maybe having him around the 'Pen will help Chad Durbin.
For the IronPigs, Taschner posted an ERA of 2.18, in 20.2 IP. But we know ERA can be deceptive, especially for relievers. We saw Taschner spend weeks in MLB WHIPping the ERAs of his teammates, by allowing inherited runners to score. Looking deeper at Taschner's AAA numbers, we see a .249 BABIP/81.3 LOB%/4.02 FIP combo. Taschner has been rather fortunate in AAA.
However, the southpaw has been experimenting with a sidearm delivery, when facing left-handed batters. If he could get LHBs out, he might be a satisfactory LOOGY. He did look good in this role, during Wednesday night's loss to the Giants. But don't expect Taschner to make any meaningful appearances, and don't be surprised if he is DFA'd, when a 40-Man spot is needed for a more capable relief option.
Brett Myers pitched in consecutive games for Lehigh Valley, throwing scoreless innings on Tuesday and Wednesday. He needs to start facing MLB hitters, in order to evaluate him for a possible postseason role, as a reliever. An effective Myers could be a force in the seventh/eighth innings. Expect him to be activated this weekend, for the Houston series.
John Ennis was added to the 40-Man roster, and the 25-Man roster, and placed on the 15-Day DL. Brad Harman was designated for assignment, in order to open a spot for Ennis.
Harman had no future with the Phillies, due to his inability to hit.
Ennis probably doesn't have much a Phillies' future either, and is recovering from Tommy John surgery. He should be ready to pitch again around this time, in 2010. Why did the Phillies do this? Flexibility. As long as Ennis is on the DL, he can be replaced on the postseason roster by anyone in the organization on August 31st. So, one of the September callups would be eligible, as a result of this move.
Catcher Tim Gradoville was promoted to Lehigh Valley (AAA), from Reading (AA). Gradoville retired to begin his coaching career, but was activated as a player-coach for Reading. He served as backup catcher, appearing in two games, but not batting. It looks like he may reprise this role with Lehigh Valley, enabling Paul Hoover or Tuffy Gosewisch to be recalled to the parent club, as the third catcher. The veteran Hoover would seem the more likely candidate for an MLB bench role, with Gosewisch starting the majority of Lehigh Valley's remaining games.
Michael Schwimer was promoted to Reading (AA), from Clearwater (A). Schwimer was lights-out (12.3 K/9, 4.32 K/BB, 1.95 FIP) in Clearwater, and picked up two wins (in a doubleheader) on his first day as an R-Phil. He could really help Reading's bullpen, as they try to hold on to a playoff spot.
B.J. Rosenberg was placed on the temporary inactive list, so that he could participate in the World Cup. Any "World Cup" that includes Terry Tiffee and Cedrick Bowers probably isn't worth worrying about. Don't understand why the Phils didn't keep Rosenberg in Reading, to help with their playoff run.
Carlos Monasterios was promoted to Reading (AA), from Clearwater (A). Monasterios, one of the players acquired from the Yankees, in the Bobby Abreu/Cory Lidle trade, has been effective in A ball (7.79 K/9, 2.63 K/BB, 3.27 FIP). But, he is no Rosenberg.
After losing two consecutive games to the New Britain Rock Cats, the Reading Phillies fell into a tie with Erie, for the final playoff spot.
With games against the EL North's top two teams this week, New Britain and first place Connecticut, the R-Phils' playoff hopes are in trouble.
Reliever Chance Chapman will make a spot start for the R-Phils on Thursday. Chapman was an effective starter in 2008, with Lakewood (7.64 K/9, 3.19 K/BB, 2.95 FIP). He has been an effective reliever for Reading (8.24 K/9, 2.35 K/BB, 3.13 FIP), but his arm isn't stretched out. He'll, probably, be good for four innings. Don't understand why the R-Phils didn't recall a starter from Clearwater to make this start. They might make that recall, before the spot in the rotation comes around again.