Phillies: Howie Kendrick likely heading to the DL, time to get creative

Apr 5, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Howie Kendrick (47) against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. The Reds won 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 5, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Howie Kendrick (47) against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. The Reds won 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

Howie Kendrick could be heading to the disabled list for the Philadelphia Phillies again. What can the team do to make up for his absence?

Hamstrings are a fickle thing. If an athlete rushes back from an injured one, it faces a high likelihood of being reinjured. This is what the Philadelphia Phillies are experiencing with veteran (old man), Howie Kendrick. Kendrick hasn’t played in the field for the Phillies since June 21 as he is nursing a sore hamstring.

Pete Mackanin played Kendrick at designated hitter on Tuesday but before Wednesday’s game, Kendrick asked to be removed from the lineup as his hamstring wasn’t feeling up to the task. This leads to two issues for the Phillies.

A DL trip for Kendrick effectively kills his trade value as teams were already wary of his health but the bigger issue is who will play second base/ man the bench while Kendrick is nursing his injury. Ty Kelly and Andres Blanco have filled in for Kendrick at second now but that has been while the Phillies are playing with a short bench. This isn’t an optimal situation since Daniel Nava and Brock Stassi only have experience playing first base.

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Fans would love to see Nick Williams or Scott Kingery get the call to the majors if Kendrick hits the DL but this is an unlikely situation. Williams coming up would leave the Phillies with three outfielders on the bench and only one middle infielder. That’s toeing a fine line that the team shouldn’t do.

Kingery, on the other hand, hasn’t been at Triple-A for a week and would also require another roster move. While he has taken like a fish to water in Triple-A, Kingery’s time will have to wait until the future.

The issue is that the Phillies have no middle infielders on the 40-man roster in Triple-A except Jesmuel Valentin (who is on the DL). This is why the Phillies have been hesitant to move Howie Kendrick to the DL. They would have liked to get a trade done so that there are open spots to call up guys from Triple-A without exposing anyone to waivers. That luxury seems to be gone, however.

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So, what happens?

The Phillies could call up Nick Williams since he’s already on the 40-man roster while running an unbalanced bench but as I mentioned prior, I don’t see this happening. This is where things get messy.

The Phillies could decide to designate Ty Kelly for assignment leaving them with Andres Blanco as the starting second baseman. This would give them room to add Pedro Florimon to the 40-man as the utility infielder. That also isn’t an optimal situation as it’s basically the same as if they called up Nick Williams and also opens the possibility of losing Ty Kelly to waivers.

With how the Phillies are performing this season, it isn’t optimal to expose anyone to waivers as each member of the team has more value to you than they do to the rest of the league. The Phillies could possibly orchestrate a trade of either Nava, Pat Neshek, or Joaquín Benoit to make space on the roster but the clock is ticking.

The possibility is to recall Edubray Ramos but he was sent to Triple-A to work through his pitching woes and he should stay there until that is done but calling him up could be the best option for the Phillies.

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At this point, Williams still needs to play every day and until Daniel Nava is traded, that won’t be happening in the majors. Nava needs all the at-bats that he can get to swing himself off of the Phillies roster and Williams would cut into that. Ramos can at least be hidden in the bullpen while he works with Bob McClure to fix his mechanics. None of these options are optimal but that’s what happens when a team takes a flier on an oft injured guy while expecting him to hold down a starting position.