Sept. 1 marks the deadline to add players eligible for the postseason, and call-ups are right around the corner.
It’s always great fun to follow the transaction wire as teams load up for the stretch run. Any player listed on the expanded roster is eligible for a September cup of coffee without a contract purchase or additional move to clear space. With the exception of an injury, players must be on a team's 25-man roster as of Aug. 31 to be eligible for post-season play. But before we get into it, there are a couple things to know about the current state of the Phils. First, the Phils’ 40-man is stuffed to the gills. When/if Brett Myers is eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list, the extended roster will be at 41, which means someone has to go; they could be outrighted to the minors, designated for assignment or released. However the Phils decided to work it, there’s no room on the 40-man without having to give someone the boot. They could easily cut bait with players like Jack Taschner or Joe Bisenius. Even once-promising infielder Brad Harman, hitting .202/.270/.313 at Reading, has reached the end of the road.
There are a couple common misconceptions about September call-ups. First, they’ll keep the numbers at a reasonable amount. Typically, the Phillies will add about six or seven fresh bodies over the final 30 days. Last season, the spare parts included Adam Eaton, J.A. Happ, Lou Marson, Greg Golson, Mike Cervenak, Andy Tracy and Les Walrond. Tadahito Iguchi was also acquired in September, but rarely used. The season before saw Chris Roberson, Fabio Castro and John Ennis, among others. Rod Barajas was also along for the ride at that point, but didn’t start the entire month. And in 2006, the Phils brought Michael Bourn aboard for speed, organizational catcher Tim Gradoville, infielder Danny Sandoval, “old reliable” Eude Brito, as Bill Conlin once called him, along with a pair of righties, Brian Sanches and Clay Condrey.
You get the point. Point being: don’t count on Kyle Drabek, Domonic Brown, Michael Taylor or other top stars, and if they do add them, they won't be used in a difference-making way. Think familiar faces already on the 40-man, like John Mayberry, Sergio Escalona, Kyle Kendrick, Rodrigo Lopez, Drew Carpenter and Steven Register. They could also entertain the notion of adding a veterans like Gustavo Chacin or Miguel Cairo, but they'd need to have their contracts purchased. Former Phils, like Mike Zagurski, who is already on the 40-man, and Scott Mathieson, who is not, could also be considered. And unless they recall roster-protected catcher Joel Naughton, which seems unlikely considering he's hitting .226 for Clearwater, they’ll need to clear space for a backstop, likely to be someone along the lines of Triple-A journeyman Paul Hoover or Tuffy Gosewisch.