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Cody Asche returns in the nick of time

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Much like Bonnie Raitt, Cody Asche hopes to stage a post-prospect career surge to prove he belongs on a competitive MLB squad, which the Phillies will be again soon enough.

Pictured above: the next Chase Utley forgetting not to smile.
Pictured above: the next Chase Utley forgetting not to smile.
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

There was a point during this season--end of April, if I recall--when I was desperate for Cody Asche to get back to the 25-man roster to plug the yawning maws in the corner outfield positions. Now, thanks to Tyler Goeddel's emergence and my remembering how inelegant Asche is in the field, I'm not so nearly as excited to pass along that Cody Asche has been added to the roster today. After suffering an oblique injury forced him to miss all of spring training and start his rehab assignment in early May, Asche will slide into Pete Mackanin's lineup as the leftfielder against right-handed starters and a better pinch hitting option than the bottom of the bench has provided this season to date.

To compensate for Asche's addition, David Lough has been designated for assignment. And this raises the question: is Cody Asche really any better than David Lough or Peter Bourjos or what's-his-name-from-whosits (Jimmy Paredes). Well, Asche's rehab stint provides no reason for optimism. In it he hit .169 with 19 strikeouts in 15 games, albeit with 4 dingers. I doubt we should put much stock in those numbers given that its a rehab assignment and he hasn't had any spring training otherwise. Nevertheless, those numbers aren't impending offensive savior numbers. (Savior concept here is relative to current Phillies offense. Savior is not responsible if salvation does not occur.)

On the other hand, Asche has a career slash of .246/.301/.396, good for a 89 wRC+ (Asche's percent of runs created by an average MLB hitter, where 100 is average). To compare, Phillies leftfielders this season have put up a 61 wRC+ and rightfielders have put up a 44 wRC+. So, if Asche can return to his career average (which the projections suggest he will), then he is a vast improvement over at least one of the current starting corner outfielders (usually Bourjos). But Asche has never looked particularly comfortable nor mobile in leftfield and his advanced metrics concur. He is certainly not as good a fielder as Goeddel, Bourjos, or Lough. So, even if Asche bolsters the offense, he might give that advantage back on defense. Maybe we can live with that because more offense in the lineup will make the games more fun to watch and who really cares that much about winning this season anyway. However, it is somewhat sad that his return could not be a tantalizing improvement for a surprisingly competitive team looking to push themselves into a race no one thought they could be in. C'est la vie.

Also of note: Mario Hollands has been taken off the DL and optioned to AAA.

UPDATE: Asche will start in LF tonight batting 6th... and Jimmy Paredes will start in RF and bat 3RD!!!! Proof:

I assumed that Asche would not reduce Goeddel's playing time since Goeddel has been playing so well and needs to keep playing in order to develop. Perhaps and hopefully, tonight is just a day-off for a young player who has never had to survive the rigors of a 162-game schedule. However, I am more concerned now that Asche will push Goeddel into a platoon. Please, no.