2015 Phillies Report Card: Alec Asher
Alec Asher was probably the least important component to the Cole Hamels trade. Jake Thompson, Nick Williams, and Jorge Alfaro all have some level of future star potential. Jerad Eickhoff is already pitching well in the majors, and Matt Harrison, who I keep forgetting about, might never put on a Phillies uniform, but getting out from under his contract allowed the Rangers to absorb Hamels’ contract more easily and greased the skids for this deal. At the time, I said I was worried that the Phillies would trade Hamels for 50 cents on the dollar, and I wanted them to get another dollar bill back–a Corey Seager or Xander Bogaerts. What I hadn’t considered is the possibility that they might trade a dollar bill for three quarters, two dimes and a nickel, which is what happened. Asher is the nickel in this metaphor.
Maybe he’ll improve on a rocky rookie season in the future, but Asher’s most important contribution to the Phillies was restocking the team’s eye candy quotient.
I’m mostly serious about this. In their salad days, the Phillies had no shortage of good-looking players. There was the boyishly handsome Cole Hamels, the rugged Jayson Werth (before he stopped grooming himself), the roguish Cliff Lee, and the 1950s movie star appeal of Pat Burrell. To say nothing of Chase Utley, who came out of the womb looking like a hot dad, and inspired more swooning than any Philadelphia athlete in recent history. Look good, play good, I suppose.
Asher is so good-looking he almost doesn’t look real. His eyes are almost unnaturally blue, his hair almost unnaturally dark. His beard is trimmed with such fastidious precision it makes me wonder if there’s a third unknown Maddux brother who works as a barber and counts Asher among his clients.
And then we have his eyebrows. Alec Asher’s eyebrows are a marvel of modern genetics and engineering. They combine the grace of a dancer with the masculinity of a dump truck. They are sculpted with an airy flourish, as if they were designed by Santiago Calatrava.
All of this gives Asher his aforementioned unhuman quality. He’s like a veela. (Do they even have male veelas? I’ll admit my knowledge of the Harry Potter Universe only goes so far.) He’s what you’d get if a particularly skilled generous artist tried to draw Wes Bentley with pastels. He is a walking argument that not only should we objectify women in sports less, we should objectify men in sports more.
Also, you figure that Asher’s ERA won’t stay above 9 forever. He might not have the stuff to be anything more than a back-end starter, but he’s certainly got the physicality (mmmm…) and durability to start, which would mitigate the Phillies’ need to go out and get more Jerome Williamses and Aaron Harangs next year. And really, if a No. 5 starter is the sixth-best asset you get in a trade, that’s a pretty good trade.