The Phillies added a player they long coveted on Thursday night in outfielder Grady Sizemore. Once one of the game's top young talents, Sizemore has battled injury since 2011 after four years of 20+ home runs and 20+ stolen bases. After a roster crunch caused the Boston Red Sox to cut Sizemore the Phillies grabbed Sizemore and sent him to AAA to prepare himself to return to the big leagues. Lurking in the minor leagues was not enough to spark the Phillies' current mediocre outfield contingent, but now the Phillies outfielders will feel extra nervous as Sizemore joins the team before another domino has yet to fall as pitcher David Buchanan heads to AAA.
Just one year ago, Domonic Brown, was the untouchable piece on the Phillies. However, by the offseason, the Phillies were "actively shopping" Brown. As Jeff Passan's report said, the Phillies were hoping to "sell high". Since then, Brown's stock has plummeted, to the point whether many question whether or not he can contribute at the major league level at all.
The situation is a tough call: do you send Brown to the minors until he learns that he will have to be active in making adjustments to the pitching that made adjustments to him? Or, since the team will not contend, do you allow Brown to try to work these things out at the major league level and just deal with mediocrity? The Phillies could do what they did with an underachieving Greg Golson: trade him for another underachieving young player, as they did when they acquired John Mayberry, Jr.
John Mayberry, Jr. shows flashes of brilliance at times, while other times he finds himself in a prolongued slump. After his 1-24 stretch (.042 average), Mayberry suddenly woke up, going 18 for his next 54 (.333 average) that included four home runs and six doubles. But, since that time, Mayberry has gone 3-33, for a .091 batting average. Mayberry's glove is useful; having a player that can play the outfield and first base capably while not butchering center field could be valuable.
I would see if Toronto, who is out Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind for the time being, could use Mayberry and take back either cash or a low-level prospect with minor upside. Simply clearing Mayberry solves a roster crunch for now, and can open some space for Darin Ruf later.
Tony Gwynn, Jr. is a tough one. Nobody with a sense of compassion really wants to cut Gywnn right after losing his father. However, it is impossible to keep Gwynn if he cannot hit. If I were the Phillies, I would indeed cut Gwynn, offering him the chance to keep playing at AAA Lehigh Valley. Gwynn could elect free agency if removed from the big league roster. Having him at Lehigh Valley would get him a chance to swing the bat regularly and serve as insurance for when the Phillies begin to make some moves in the outfield. The Phillies could promise him a September call-up at the very least, making his AAA stay just six or seven weeks.
Marlon Byrd could be a valuable trade chip. This past offseason, Jim Bowden of ESPN and XM Radio regularly said on MLB Network that 20 home runs and 80 RBI are essentially a $15 million player in this age. Byrd is on pace for 32 home runs and 92 RBI, well beyond the threshhold Bowden believes is worth $15 million. Byrd will earn just $16 million this year and next, so he has given the Phillies value well-beyond how he is performing. Teams with tight budgets might love to add Byrd's bat. While his strong year may have been considered a fluke by some, Byrd is showing that it is not. Looking at Byrd's statistics from 2008 through 2011 before his injury and PED-ridden 2012, Byrd is performing at the level that one might expect.
Ben Revere is likely safe for now. While in may ways Revere is raw, I would still see if he can straighten out his defense some and continue to try to be the contact hitter he is, perhaps with some more discipline. Yet, if a team came calling for Revere, I would not hesitate to trade him. But, on a rebuilding team, Revere would do just fine playing center most days.
Buchanan's roster and rotation spot ultimately will go to Cliff Lee when Lee returns, which means that the Phillies essentially have a week to figure out which outfielder to cut. I personally would send out two at this time: Domonic Brown and Tony Gwynn, Jr. I would send Brown to AAA Lehigh Valley and outright Gwynn off of the roster, offering him a spot at Lehigh Valley, hoping he sticks around. My outfield would be Sizemore, Revere, and Byrd, at least until Byrd is traded, at which time I would play Ruf in left, Revere in center, and Sizemore in right field.
As for Brown, I would see if another team would trade a disappointing player for Brown. Two players are greatly underachieving that once had high upside: Mike Moustakas and Jean Segura. Indeed, both are infielders, but I would take them back anyway. With many moves in the team's future, that could work itself out.