The issue: Wilson Valdez and Ben Francisco were shipped out because the Phillies felt they could replace them internally for less. The severity of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley’s injuries could test that theory.
The Phillies have trumpeted an improved bench, but one can’t help but wonder if all the new parts will fit exactly how they were intended. Ryan Howard's Achilles is still stuffed inside a walking boot and there is no real indication that Chase Utley will take the field anytime soon. John Mayberry Jr., who starts at first again today, has seen the lion’s share of time at that position. Considering his tools and approved numbers against righties, all signs point toward Mayberry earning something closer to an all-out first base assignment rather than a platoon. That could have something to do with freeing up Ty Wigginton for second base; Wigginton gets the start at second today.
With Mayberry and Wigginton possibly tied up in the infield, and with Jim Thome ideally suited to pinch hit in big situations, the Phillies could be left with Michael Martinez as the lone utility option and no right-handed hitting option for left field. Laynce Nix can’t hit lefties, and nobody really knows how much Scott Podsednik or Juan Pierre have left in the tank.
Which brings us back to the original question: did the Phillies sell themselves short when they traded away Wilson Valdez and Ben Francisco?