Phillies Outright Kevin Frandsen to Triple-A
Yesterday, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reported that the Phillies outrighted back-up infielder Kevin Frandsen to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Frandsen has 72 hours to accept or reject the assignment. If he accepts, he’ll still earn the $900,000 from the guaranteed contract he signed in December. If he rejects the assignment and becomes a free agent, he’ll lose that $900,000 and could earn less if and when he signs with another team.
GM Ruben Amaro says Frandsen still has a chance to make the team:
“We’re in a situation now with many of the injuries that have happened and the things that have occurred this spring to try and create some roster space for us,” Amaro said. “That’s what we’ve done. We still think he can be a valuable part of our club. But he’s competing. Just like he was before, he continues to compete for a job on the bench.”Ruben Amaro, via MLB.com‘s Todd Zolecki
Apparently, the roster shuffle is a result of the latest rash of injuries the Phillies have suffered, with Freddy Galvis and his MRSA, and Darin Ruf‘s strained left oblique. With Galvis down, the Phillies will need someone capable of backing up at the positions up the middle. Amaro can choose from Cesar Hernandez and non-roster invitees Ronny Cedeno and Reid Brignac.
It’s unclear why Frandsen is suddenly viewed as dispensable, considering his guaranteed salary and his experience playing all four infield positions and, to a much lesser extent, the corner outfield. Frandsen signed a guaranteed contract worth $900,000 back in December to avoid arbitration. Almost all contracts signed to avoid arbitration are non-guaranteed; rare exceptions were made by Amaro with Frandsen as well as Mayberry. That they were given guaranteed deals seemed to assure their inclusion on the 25-man roster.
Frandsen was a productive bench bat in 2012, hitting .338 and leading the league in pinch hits. But he regressed last season, finishing with a .234 average as expected. Amaro — and who knows, maybe Scott Freedman, too — may think Hernandez, Cedeno, or Brignac would be more valuable in either the short- or long-term, or both.
If the Phillies decide to carry a traditional seven-man bullpen, they’ll have five bench spots available. Back-up catcher Wil Nieves has one, as does outfielder John Mayberry, Jr. Beyond that, with Galvis and Ruf gone, it’s a toss-up. Non-roster invitees Bobby Abreu and Tony Gwynn, Jr. could both make the team as back-up outfielders and the Phillies would carry one all-purpose back-up infielder, likely Hernandez. Alternatively, they could bring one of Abreu and Gwynn, and carry two infielders, some combination of Hernandez, Cedeno, and Brignac. Mayberry would serve as the back-up first baseman, a role that was previously assumed to be held by Ruf and then by Frandsen.
It’s an unappetizing position to be in for the Phillies, for sure. They went from their top two bench spots going to one of their most productive bats and their best defender to detritus scraped up from the free agent market. Their only move now is to make the best of a bad situation.