It’s that time of year again, folks. Soon, rosters will be set, and attention will be poised to the start of the Major League season.
For the Phillies, this is one of the more high-stake seasons in recent memory. They are projected for a winning record, and, in some cases, even projected to win the entirety of the National League East.
This being the case, it is important that the Front Office go over every detail with a fine tooth comb, and perfect the roster to the best of their ability. No stone can be left unturned.
Unfortunately, in perfecting a roster, there are some strenuous decisions to be made. These choices often reside in difficult cuts, trades, and options that, while finicky, are integral to the process of readying a team to face Opening Day.
On the Phillies Active Roster, six players are without minor league options. Those six include; Cesar Hernandez, Hector Neris, Roman Quinn, Jose Alvarez, Aaron Altherr, and Adam Morgan.
Hernandez is projected to be the teams’ starting Second Baseman, Neris has a near guaranteed spot in the bullpen after his second half of 2018, Quinn’s speed and versatility make him a perfect bench candidate, and Alvarez is slated as the primary lefty specialist.
So, that leaves us with two questionable candidates in Aaron Altherr and Adam Morgan — where exactly do they fit, if at all?
The Phillies have three options; keep them at the expense of another player’s roster spot, trade them — if at all possible, or place them on waivers, and lose them.
In Morgan’s case, it’s difficult to picture a scenario in which he could be traded. Though he has flashed some solid potential with a killer breaking ball, Morgan has never really strung together a coherent-enough campaign to make him worth a low-level bat or arm via trade. He certainly won’t beat out other fringe bullpen candidates like James Pazos, Victor Arano, and Edubray Ramos, and while it will be sad to see him go, I think it is next to inevitable that Adam Morgan will be placed on waivers.
Aaron Altherr, on the other hand, is the perfect trade candidate. Altherr is, perhaps, the most talented athlete in the entirety of the Phillies’ system. He plays passable defense at every outfield slot, has a remarkably high offensive ceiling — as he showcased in 2017, and has the athletic makeup to morph into a true talent. Altherr’s only issue is the fact that, past his standout season two years ago, he’s never been able to figure himself out. Perhaps a change of scenery is exactly what he needs to put the pieces together.
Another option for Altherr lies within demoting, or even trading Nick Williams, who has perhaps the highest trade value of any available Phillie at this moment in time. However, Williams’ bat off the bench is valuable, and he’s an excellent insurance plan should any of the teams’ primary outfielders go down. Plus, Williams was previously miffed about the prospect of sharing time with Altherr in Right Field in 2018, and I’m sure he would be even less pleased to head back down to Triple-A ball.
It’s always a shame to have to say goodbye to players whom you’ve come to know and love over the years. A-Mo had his moments of struggle, as has Altherr, but both were excellent clubhouse guys, and played their part in the Phillies’ rebuilding process. Wherever they end up, we should wish them nothing but success.
Who knows, they could wind up in red pinstripes again someday.