On the radar it didn’t appear to be much of a trade for the Philadelphia Phillies after they acquired Art Charles. However, the piece they received for Mike Schwimer is a first baseman.
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I will continue the process of the previous Monday’s approach, if appropriate. For early birds Sunday evening is post time. Due to a strong response and a complicated offseason, my reviews will be weekly until spring training ends. The new summer schedule will allow me to publish the best 3 storylines each week, but there will be an updated calendar included with each feature: Posts involving commentary, polls and stats will be listed for the upcoming 7 days.
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This review is a 2nd posting.
The Silent Surprise:
Contracts are only a formality in the entertainment arena, and the deal of Schwimer to the Blue Jays is a perfect example.
I experienced this first hand years ago in the recording industry, where the one needed more has the upper hand. If you are the star, you can disregard the legalities, because the organization places profit above everything else. On the other hand, when the performer needs management more, you cannot sue for breach of contract without being pruned from the roster. However, one big difference in the music business is the bad reference, which is a career-ender.
Schwimer went to the union about service time, and the higher-ups decided his spell in Philly was over.
My best guess is that he was quiet about his shoulder problems, because questionable health is a common job-losing fear in professional sports. He got hit during 3 consecutive appearances, did not indicate there was a physical concern, was sent to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and then he revealed his injury. He did not pitch at Lehigh Valley, but the rub occurred when he wanted his service time to continue accumulating on the major-league DL. However, he was not placed on the minor-league disabled list, was invited to camp as a value-maintaining move, and was swapped for a Single-A player.
The event behind the barter went completely unnoticed, and that was the strategy to obtain the new member of the franchise.
Don’t look now but the lack of position hopefuls is changing with dispatch. Some are on the diamond already: CF Ben Revere, RF Dom Brown, LF Darin Ruf and 2B Freddy Galvis. At Lehigh Valley, there will be C Tommy Joseph and 3B Cody Asche. The others include SS Roman Quinn and 1B Charles, who are on Single-A squads.
The Current Future:
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Galvis appeared at Double-A Reading in 2009 as a shortstop, and was known mostly for his leather. Last year he supplied some offense and was stellar at second base. Even though he held down Chase Utley’s place on the field, he proved he was among the elite gloves at that spot. Depending on the talent produced by the farm system, he could be at second or short, but he will need to chip in with some hitting.
Brown came to Clearwater for a starting gig, and he has impressed everybody. He made the jump to Reading in 2009, but he had fallen short of expectations until now. He is turning on 95-mph fastballs inside and pulling them into the right-field corner, which is a good sign. Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard have spoken highly of him this spring, which is a new wrinkle.
Ruf came out of nowhere to generate excitement last season in Reading. And after the campaign ended, he continued to thump the ball until Thanksgiving for Tiburones de La Guaira. He is the eyes-on favorite this March after a solid September, but–consider–he went 1 for his first 13 during winter ball. He has a quick bat, which could be the difference between Triple-A Lehigh Valley and Philly.
Revere is a ball of fire with an illuminating smile and personality. So far, he is slotting first or second, and that will continue with Rollins on Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Revere is the leadoff man of tomorrow; however, Rollins may see some action in the 2 hole during this 162. Because it is hard to imagine Revere in any spot other than first or second.
Last summer Asche moved to within 1 tour of the hot corner at the Bank by averaging .300 for Reading. He has a legitimate shot at a September call-up with a solid 5 months for Lehigh Valley. Joseph was the prospect that came in the Hunter Pence trade, and probably is the next backstop for the red pinstripes. He will provide strong defense with a decent stick.
Quinn is ranked 5th in the Phils’ minor-league system, because no one has more tools than he does. He had the most stolen bases of any farm product, and that was in a short-season league. That brings us to the return for Schwimer, which is Charles. The first sacker has pop and middle-of-the-order potential.
Scouting Report Insert:
Charles is a slugger with power to spare, who was a 20th round draftee in 2010. After he was promoted last year, his OBP dropped off because his walk ratio went from 26.8% to 9.2%. His strikeout rate and average remained about the same, which means he’ll be more productive with increased patience. Which Single-A squad other than Clearwater he’ll be on is questionable.
Rube Amaro has been very deliberate with the minor leaguers he has picked up. Since last July 31, he has dealt for a catcher, a center fielder and a 1st basemen. Galvis can handle second or short, Ruf can always return to first, and Brown can patrol left. That’s two possible regulars for shortstop, first base and left field.
The club hasn’t advertised their plans but the pattern is unmistakable.
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This is the 18th storyline for 2013. Check out my recent publication (The Next Chapter) on the Phillies page or my author archives, where there is an excerpt photo. Also, my new feature is Suds or Studs. The last one was Select One of Each.
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