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.

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8 comments

  1. Greg

    March 24, 2014 09:50 AM

    “Their only move now is to make the best of a bad situation.”

    Because that’s something they’re certainly displaying a penchant for, right?

  2. tom b

    March 24, 2014 10:43 AM

    hard to believe that there is a logical intelligent plan with this team. sign guys to guaranteed contracts when noone else does and then spend spring training trying to trade one and send the other to AAA

  3. Jack

    March 24, 2014 01:34 PM

    I would have kept him around just because he’s handled lefties well the last 2 years. Especially since Asche has had his struggles against lefties in the minors Frandsen seemed like the perfect guy to keep around to help offset that.

    • charles jenks

      March 24, 2014 05:23 PM

      I agree, Frandsen should be kept around. A clutch player. As much as I loved Bobby Abreu , I think he is done. Speed and better defense can make up for a little less bat.

  4. Robert Anderson

    March 25, 2014 05:49 AM

    Bill, I thought you were better than the tweet you sent out yesterday. Not defending Frandsen’s tweets either just thought you had more class.

    I always quite liked Frandsen as a player would have easily been as good as Michael Young at considerably less cost last year.

  5. Bob

    March 26, 2014 09:57 AM

    This was the right move. Frandsen cannot play shortstop well. With Galvis dealing with MRSA and Ryno high on Hernandez – who also doesn’t play SS well – we needed a bench player who can play SS. He isn’t versatile enough anymore to justify inclusion of one of the few bench spots. He has below average ISO and wOBA, which is problematic for someone who is not a defensive wiz. Oh wow. I just looked at Brignac’s offensive numbers and his stats are awful.

  6. welch

    March 26, 2014 04:26 PM

    I don’t understand why Amaro dropped Frandsen, although Bob makes a case. I’m a Nats fan, and I’ve been puzzled about the Phillies thinking, but seems a reasonable move by the Nats. Washington wanted a pinch-hitter and has a good fielding backup SS/2B in Espinosa…but Espinosa is a terrible hitter even when he plays regularly.

    Nope. Not here to talk trash (I’m old enough that I remember Curt Simmons, Richie Ashburn, Robin Roberts, Mickey Vernon, and Roy Sievers). Leaving now.

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