They reassigned left-hander Adam Morgan; right-handers J.C. Ramirez and Kyle Simon; infielder Michael Martinez; catcher Tommy Joseph; and third baseman Cody Asche to Minor League camp. They also optioned left-hander Joe Savery, and released outfielder Joe Mather.
The Phillies are pinning a lot of their future hopes on Asche and Joseph. Rather than commit a bunch of money to a free agent like Kevin Youkilis, the team decided to trade a couple middling arms to the Rangers for Michael Young and a big chunk of the last year on his contract to avoid committing to a big money, aging player beyond 2013. It appears that Asche will likely get every chance to win the job as early as next spring, and he looked like he might be up to the task this spring, collecting five hits, including two doubles, in 14 at-bats. And with the 34 year old Carlos Ruiz's contract expiring after 2013, Tommy Joseph should figure prominently in the Phillies' future plans as well.
Asche, 22, was a fourth round selection out of the University of Nebraska in 2011. He had a big breakout season at the plate in 2012, posting a combined .324/.369/.481 between Single-A Clearwater and Double-A Reading. Joseph, 21, was acquired in last July's trade that sent Hunter Pence to the Giants. Joseph was blocked at catcher by National League MVP Buster Posey, so hey, we'll take your leftovers, guys. His .257/.317/.399 with the Giants' and Phillies' Double-A teams in 2012 is not terribly impressive, but he's shown above-average power and a strong throwing arm.