What we heard last night just prior to the gam…err, rainout, became official this morning: The Phillies have released Catcher John Hester. Since coming back from a knee injury suffered in Spring Training, Hester was the ‘Pigs best offensive option at catcher, hitting .304 in limited duty. I didn’t notice that the veteran was a defensive liability, either.
It is a somewhat curious move. Catching depth is something that’s always important, and with Tommy Joseph on the shelf for–well, we hope not ever, but for the foreseeable future, I suppose it signals a couple things:
But first, you’ll recall that Gabriel Lino was promoted from Reading yesterday in exchange for Logan Moore.
According to Manager Dave Brundage, Lino now becomes the Lehigh Valley primary, every day, catcher–with Blake Forsythe as the backup. In Reading, They’ll have Rene Garcia and Logan Moore. And that’s it at the top two levels. Clearwater still has three catchers if you want to count Willians Astudillo; however, I’m not sure he’s seen that much time at catcher or if that will even be his position going forward. Andrew Knapp and Chace Numata are there, but I’m not sure either is pushing for a promotion at this juncture.
So what does all this mean? Here are the assumptions I’m working under:
- The Phillies are completely happy and comfortable with Cameron Rupp in Philadelphia as Chooch’s backup.
- Despite limited time at AA, the Phillies want to challenge Lino with AAA, and would even consider him for MLB in the case of an injury.
But what else could be going on behind the scenes? Are there parts of this that we, as fans, don’t understand, vis-a-vis the “plan?” When I gaze into the crystal ball*, this is what I see:
*Crystal balls are not 100% accurate
- I see the IronPigs with only 23 men on the roster. Could a catcher be coming via trade?!?
- News doesn’t sound good on Tommy Joseph: “going through the protocols” was all the beat writers were able to get out of Brundage yesterday. However, if things aren’t as bad as we all fear, could be he’ll make a return to catching. I’m not holding my breath, but that would be a wonderful outcome.
- Remember Koyie Hill? Last I heard, he was working as a coach in Clearwater with the Threshers, but was not officially retired. Could be he’s in the wings in case of need/injury.
More conspiracy theories for today:
Back to the roster: The IronPigs only have 23 guys on the roster–two openings. We’ve got a doubleheader tonight, and Brundage is burning TWO starters: Joely Rodriguez and Phillippe Aumont. Joely was last night’s scheduled starter, and theoretically would have pushed Phillippe back to tomorow. Brundage usually likes to take a bullpen game in that second game of the doubleheader to keep the rotation intact.
What’s that smell? Bacon? Nope. I smell the Nola promotion we’ve all been waiting for. His turn to pitch is tomorrow. Look out.
But, I could be mistaken. The bullpen isn’t in great shape either: Neris was “unavailable” last night, and Rosin got hit on the throwing elbow in Charlotte on Sunday. Their status is unknown. Could be no promotion, but if you see the IronPigs van leaving Erie, PA tonight, we’ll know why.
One last thing for today: There could be changes to the IronPigs rain-out policy. I’m trying to confirm some things, and should have more info late today or tomorrow. Stay tuned.
Printable roster for tonight (as far as I know right now, could be more changes on the way prior to the games….)
See you at the park,