The Phillies' rationale for promotion Michael Taylor to Triple-A today was simple.
"He was ready," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said today.
One look at the numbers Taylor posted at Double-A Reading supports that observation. In 86 games, the 6-foot-6, 250-pound outfielder hit .333 with a .408 on base percentage, a .569 slugging percentage, and a .977 OPS. He hit 15 home runs in 318 at-bats, stole 18 bases, scored 59 runs, drove in 65, and struck out 51 times.
The Stanford University product turns 24 in December.
The promotion to Triple-A comes two weeks before the July 31 trading deadline. Amaro said today that Taylor is very much on the radar of potential trade partners with whom the Phillies have talked, although he declined to say whether Taylor was on the list of "untouchables" whom he told the media he would not trade last week.
"He's pretty popular," Amaro said. "There's no doubt about that."
With both of the Phillies corner outfielder signed through 2010, Taylor likely would not get a chance to break into the Phillies line-up until at least 2011, when he would be 26 years old. That makes him an ideal bargaining chip in a potential trade. The Phillies have maintained contact with the Blue Jays with regards to the availability of ace righthander Roy Halladay. But they are not limiting their options to a top-of-the-rotation starter. The Phillies said last year that they made an aggressive play for eventual Brewers lefty C.C. Sabathia. Instead, they settled for Joe Blanton, who played an important role in their World Series run.
Amaro did not rule out the potential of a big league promotion for Taylor at some point in the second half, although a lot depends on how he adjusts to Triple-A pitching. While he faced prospects with more upside in Double-A, in Lehigh Valley he will be squaring off against many pitchers who have big league experience and know how to exploit the holes in a young player's game.
"A lot of it depends on how he makes the adjustment," Amaro said. "We'll see how he adjusts."
More pre-game notes:
1) Pedro Martinez expects to throw a side session Saturday in Miami, then report to Clearwater on Monday. The Phillies do not have a definite schedule for his rehab assignments.
2) Clay Condrey should be activated from the disabled list in the near future. Condrey (oblique) has made three rehab appearances, most recently last night in Clearwater.
"I feel like I'm ready to go," Condrey said, "but I haven't talked to anybody (about returning to the roster)."
3) Rodrigo Lopez will throw a bullpen session on Saturday and is expected to be on the mound when the Phillies return to Citizens Bank Park Monday.