The Phillies summoned the IronPigs' five best players Friday night after Columbus dealt the Phils' Triple-A affiliate a 4-1 loss in the deciding game of the International League Governor's Cup finals.
The team recalled outfielder Domonic Brown and right-handed reliever Justin DeFratus and purchased the contracts of catcher Erik Kratz, lefty reliever Joe Savery and outfielder Brandon Moss, it was announced during Friday's Phillies game. To clear room on the 40-man roster, the Phillies announced they had designated left-handers Juan Perez and Mike Zagurski for assignment, along with minor-league right-hander Drew Naylor, who has been on the 40-man roster for several seasons. Both Zagurski and Perez had appeared with the Phillies this season. Perez, who struck out the side on nine pitches in a July 8 appearance, had been a mess since being sent back down to the minors, while Zagurski classifies as a dime-a-dozen lefty tweener who failed to impress.
That means the the 2011 saga of Joe Savery begins a fascinating new chapter, one that could end with an invitation to the Phillies' postseason roster. The former first-round pick was left unprotected and could have been claimed by any team in the Rule 5 draft, but instead returned to the Phillies as a first baseman for Class-A Clearwater. For about two weeks, he was the hottest hitter on the planet, ascended to Double-A where circumstances pushed him back into the bullpen where he rediscovered his long, lost fastball. He was promoted to Triple-A, as a reliever, and finessed the the regular season 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA for Lehigh Valley, posting a 26/6 K/BB ratio in 25 innings. All told, he appeared in 25 games this season, posting a 1.50 ERA, while hitting .294/.354/.404 with two homers.
Savery's story becomes even more intriguing given that Antonio Bastardo's struggles continued Friday.
De Fratus, a power right-hander, could also get a hard look and pitched lights-out ball down the stretch. In his last 10 regular-season appearances, he fanned 24 in 15 innings.
In veterans Kratz and Moss, the Phillies receive the IronPigs' best veterans. Kratz, of nearby Telford, Pa., has been a third catcher in the bigs before and put up good power numbers again, hitting .288/.372/.466 with 15 homers for the Pigs. Notably absent: Old standby Dane Sardinha. Meanwhile, the Pigs' postseason run gypped Moss out of likely earlier call-up. He hit .275/.368/.509 with 23 homers in leading the IronPigs offense all season. He could push John Bowker out of the picture for good; Bowker is 0-for-7 with five strikeouts and doesn't have Moss's glove.
As for Brown, his offensive and defensive struggles since the Hunter Pence trade have been well documented. He lost his started job to Scott Podsednik in Lehigh Valley, but I still would not rule him out of the postseason mix. The Phils would love nothing more than for Brown to gain back some confidence and head to 2012 firmly in the outfield mix. The Phillies share much of the blame for robbing him of development time these last two seasons.
Clinching the division today would be a good first step in clearing some bandwidth in order to give these guys a shot. They could do so before stepping on the field should the Mets beat the Braves again.