Tuesday, July 29, 2014
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Implications of Frandsen and Mayberry news not good for Cesar Hernandez or Darin Ruf

The Phillies' decisions to re-sign Kevin Frandsen to a one-year, $900,000 contract and tender a contract to John Mayberry Jr. have implications, none of which will please anybody who was hoping that the front office's strategy for improving the offense would be more dramatic than signing a right fielder and hoping that the Ryan Howard of 2008-11 returns.

Implications of Frandsen and Mayberry news not good for Cesar Hernandez or Darin Ruf

John Mayberry Jr. (Laurence Kesterson/AP)
John Mayberry Jr. (Laurence Kesterson/AP)

The Phillies' decisions to re-sign Kevin Frandsen to a one-year, $900,000 contract and tender a contract to John Mayberry Jr. have implications, none of which will please anybody who was hoping that the front office's strategy for improving the offense would be more dramatic than signing a right fielder and hoping that the Ryan Howard of 2008-11 returns.

While the contract that Mayberry will eventually be rewarded through arbitration -- it should be in the neighborhood of $1.5 million -- is not fully guaranteed, the Phillies would have to pay him 60 days severance if they were to release him, which would amoung to at least $250,000. So their decision to offer him arbitration is a pretty clear signal that they have no plans to upgrade center field, because it likely means that they view Mayberry as their back-up center fielder.

The signing of Frandsen would not appear to be good news for either Cesar Hernandez or Darin Ruf. Frandsen appears to be the guy who will be the primary back-up to Chase Utley at second base, which is Hernandez's natural position. Hernandez also spent time in center field, where Mayberry will back up Revere. But Frandsen has not played short stop in the majors since 2009, and the Phillies have never indicated that they'd be comfortable with him as their primary back-up at the position. So that likely means that Freddy Galvis or another short stop will be on the bench when the season starts. And that means that the Phillies have four of their five bench spots accounted for: Frandsen, Mayberry, back-up catcher (Erik Kratz, presumably) and utility man (Galvis at this point). That leaves one spot, which will almost certainly be filled by a left-handed hitter. Ruf is not a left-handed hitter. Hernandez is a switch-hitter, so he could theoretically fill that void. But it seems highly unlikely that the Phillies would keep Hernandez around simply as a left-handed bat off the bench. Better to have him playing every day in the minors, right?

The left-handed hitter who eventually fills the final bench spot will almost certainly play either third base or the outfield. The Phillies could very well view Galvis as the right-handed complement to Cody Asche at the hot corner. Frandsen only played four games there in 2013. He is a better defender at second base.

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Ruf still has options remaining, so he could find himself back in the minors despite a solid .257/.348/.489 batting line and 17 home runs in 330 career plate appearances (albeit with 103 strikeouts). You would think the Phillies will be looking to trade him, perhaps for a bullpen piece.

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David Murphy Daily News Staff Writer
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