Rising from the Ashes: Asche Activated; Lough DFA’d

The changes keep on coming. Yesterday, the Phillies swapped Emmanuel Burriss for Jimmy Paredes and today the Phillies have made another change to their outfield composition. Today, the Phillies have finally activated Cody Asche who had been recovering from an oblique injury since the start of spring training.

For a fleeting moment in 2015, Asche looked like an important piece for the future of the Phillies. Nine games into the season he was slashing a tremendous .500/.571/.667 and it looked as though Maikel Franco was going to have his work cut out for him in trying to dethrone Asche at third base. But Asche’s star faded quickly as his BABIP normalized and people remembered that he was a miserable defender at third base.

When the time came, the decision to call up Franco to replace Asche mid-May was a no-brainer. Asche was sent to Triple-A to learn how to play left field before returning to the big leagues two weeks later. His defense at his new position was uneasy all season and his bat never came along. As a result, he posted sub-replacement level WAR over the full season and finished with a .245/.294/.395 slashline.

Although expectations have dwindled for the major league career of the soon-to-be 26-year-old, Asche’s return to the majors is a welcome development. Injuries to Asche and Aaron Altherr left a void on the outfield depth chart that the Phillies have been unable (or unwilling) to adequately address.

The roster casualty in this move is David Lough who hit .239/.342/.313 in his 79 plate appearances with the Phillies. He was a fine emergency stand-in who, in the end, did an excellent job illustrating the meaning of the term “replacement level.” Although Asche was below replacement level a year ago, he does have a hit tool that allows observers to dream that he still possesses some untapped potential — even if his ultimate ceiling is likely that of a productive corner bench bat. At the very least, Asche will get one last chance to prove himself until outfield prospect Nick Williams is major league ready. For the time being, I would expect Asche – Odubel HerreraTyler Goeddel to be the go-to outfield alignment with Paredes and Peter Bourjos on the bench.

The Phillies will waste no time taking a look at their new outfield reinforcements with Jimmy Paredes in right field batting third and Cody Asche playing left and batting sixth tonight:

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