The Phillies announced today that Cody Asche has been recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, indicating that the former third baseman’s transition to left field will continue at the Major League level. After being sent to Triple-A to work on the position, Asche batted .295/.358/.393 in 15 games. A corresponding roster move has yet to be announced, but the presence of Asche will further crowd an outfield mix that currently includes Ben Revere, Odubel Herrera, Grady Sizemore, Jeff Francoeur and Darin Ruf. Veterans Sizemore and Francoeur have each struggled at the plate this season, and it seems fair to speculate that Asche’s presence could squeeze fellow lefty swinger Sizemore out of a roster spot.
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- Cole Hamels is becoming a more attractive trade chip with each passing day, writes Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News. While GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has taken his share of flak, Lawrence opines that he’s played the Hamels situation “close to perfect,” as Hamels is the most attractive trade chip in a market filled with teams in need of rotation help. Johnny Cueto and Scott Kazmir each hold their own appeal, Lawrence notes, but Cueto recently underwent an MRI after being scratched from a start, whereas Scott Kazmir had an MRI on his left shoulder after experiencing pain of his own. Neither test revealed structural damage, but the MRIs could create a bit of unease as teams look at the pair of rentals, Lawrence notes. He also reminds that Amaro and team president Pat Gillick expressed in Spring Training a desire to get more bats into a minor league system that has added some intriguing arms over the past year or so. I’m inclined to agree with Lawrence — it didn’t make sense late in the offseason or in Spring Training for Amaro to merely take the best offer he could get for Hamels, and he’s now in a position where multiple teams will need to show interest, thereby increasing the possible return by forming somewhat of a bidding war.
- Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com writes that “all signs point to the Red Sox” as the team on which the Phillies are focused in looking to move Hamels. Salisbury cautions that the interest may not be reciprocated, but he did speak to a scout who feels that the two teams can line up on a trade, even without including Mookie Betts or Blake Swihart. Salisbury runs down several of the names listed in their conversation, though they’re listed in a speculative nature.
- Todd Zolecki of MLB.com feels that while Amaro’s comments about impatient fans “not understanding” the game were regrettable, there was merit to his message that the development of top prospects like Aaron Nola is a process that shouldn’t be rushed. Zolecki looks at top draft picks from the 2006-12 drafts and notes that highly drafted college pitchers have averaged 32.4 starts in the minors before establishing themselves as big leaguers. (The number jumps to 34.7 if Mike Leake — an exceptionally rare case who skipped the minors entirely — is excluded.) To this point, Zolecki notes, Nola has made just 20 minor league starts. While Stephen Strasburg and Tim Lincecum jumped to the Majors after 11 and 13 minor league starts, respectively, those two and Leake are more of the exception than the rule.