Phillies Finally Call Up Some Prospects, Also DFA Gomez and Saunders
Matt Klentak finally answered everyone’s angry tweets and comments, and made a roster move!
Let’s start with the named players in this deal. The Phillies have cut ties with their opening day closer and right fielder. Yes, Jeanmar Gomez and Michael Saunders have both been designated for assignment by the Phillies. Both players were supposed to be stop gaps to the future and instead were leaky sieves. Gomez got another crack at the closer role this year, but proved he couldn’t hold down that or a low leverage inning role. Michael Saunders was supposed to be the answer to the Phillies problems in right field (he wasn’t). He had a poor second half in 2016, but still posted a .253/.338/.478 season line. This year he did everything worse but strikeout, instead he traded some of those for more weak contact. In the end, Saunders hit .205/.257/.360 over 61 games and 214 plate appearances. The Phillies had a team option on Saunders and Gomez was a free agent so there is no longer term impact on the Phillies.
As for the prospects moving up, neither is a core part of the Phillies’ future. The Phillies took Cameron Perkins and Hoby Milner with their 6th and 7th round picks in the 2012 draft. Both are 26 and making their major league debuts.
Cameron Perkins is a right handed outfielder who has always hit at every level he has played at. He is currently in his third and best year in AAA, and was hitting .298/.338/.476 at the time of his callup. The knock against Perkins is that he is a tweener. The Phillies have played him a decent bit in center field in AAA, but it is not major league caliber defense. Even in his breakout this year in AAA he has 6 home runs and a .178 ISO which is not ideal for an every day corner outfielder. This year Perkin’s is walking more, to go with his typical low strikeout rate, but not at a rate high enough to carry his lack of raw power. Long term, Perkins is a bench outfield, maybe a platoon bat. It looks like he probably starts in a platoon role with Nava and gives the Phillies another outfielder when they want to rest Altherr or Herrera.
Hoby Milner has had a bit more of an interesting journey. He was a starting pitcher through 2014 when he was just ok in AA. As a reliever in 2015, he was just average. In 2016 he changed up his delivery to be more sidearm and started striking more batters out. His fastball still sits in the high 80s, and will occasionally touch 90, but his arm angle makes it tough to pick up. He also throws a breaking ball and changeup, and he can throw all three pitches for strikes. The Indians selected him this offseason in the Rule 5 draft, but he didn’t break camp with the team. His lack of impact stuff makes his likely future as a LOOGY. Currently the only left handed pitcher with the Phillies is Adam Morgan, so Milner should fill the situational lefty role that Mackanin tried forcing Joely Rodriguez into earlier this year.
Perkins and Milner are a bit underwhelming when compared to the demands of Scott Kingery or Nick Williams, but both could fill a role on the 2017 Phillies and possibly be minor parts of the team over the next few seasons.