The Phillies have plans to use Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz in 2016, writes Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. Howard and Ruiz are the only two remaining members from the 2008 World Series winning roster. GM Matt Klentak notes that he’s yet to have a sit down with either veteran, but there is a role for both players. Klentak also talks about the importance of setting expectations. “If we’re doing our jobs and communicating with players throughout the process, I think that goes a long way towards minimizing issues.” Howard will probably continue to platoon with lefty-mashing first baseman Darin Ruf. Ruiz himself acknowledged that teammate Cameron Rupp outplayed him, although Ruiz also sees himself as a starting catcher.
Here’s more from Philadelphia as they prepare to turn the page in 2016:
- Trade deadline acquisition Jake Thompson could begin the season in the Phillies’ rotation, writes Matt Breen of Philly.com. Thompson, acquired in the Cole Hamels trade, performed well after joining Philadelphia’s Double-A squad with a 1.80 ERA, 6.80 K/9, and 2.40 BB/9 in 45 innings. Only Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff made a strong case for rotation jobs next season so there is a potential job for Thompson. Barring several acquisitions, Adam Morgan will likely get a shot too. Of course, the Phillies will also be aware of service time with regards to promoting Thompson. It strikes me as extremely unlikely that he would open the season in the rotation, although a late April promotion is more palatable. GM Matt Klentak prefers for players to be ready when promoted, saying “we want players to be ready to stick here. I don’t know if developmentally, it does any player a service to flip them up and down throughout the course of a year if it can be avoided.” Baseball America ranks Thompson as the the third best prospect in the Phillies system.
- Another trade acquisition, Tom Windle, may be ready to join the Phillies bullpen, suggests Jake Kaplan of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The left-handed Windle was originally acquired from the Dodgers along with Zach Eflin last offseason in exchange for Jimmy Rollins. He was converted to relief in June and posted a shiny 1.69 ERA over 26 and 2/3 innings. His fastball has run between 93 and 96 mph in the Arizona Fall League.