May 15, 2013, 9:45 AM EDT
Freddy Galvis’ versatility has offered Charlie Manuel plenty of flexibility with his lineup card. But his latest dimension, potentially taking his Gold Glove-caliber defense to center field, could do the same for the roster.
Specifically, it could allow the organization to DFA John Mayberry Jr. to callup Darin Ruf.
Some cold water first. Galvis has yet to step foot in center at any level. While Manuel said it’s likely to happen here and soon, it’s tough to imagine Galvis impressing enough within the foreseeable future to justify dropping the only true backup center fielder (in other words, not Laynce Nix) on the roster. Which is what would happen, seeing as Mayberry is out of options.
Still, Mayberry’s roster spot has been all but secured, not because of his .244 average and .300 on-base percentage over the past two years, but because he figured to be Ben Revere’s only spell. In theory, this would lower that shield. Between this streaky Phillies offense and Ruf’s .365 average with nine RBI in his last 14 games at Triple-A, maybe enough to necessitate a move.
Maybe the biggest perk here is that it would break the linkage between Ruf and Delmon Young. Manuel said only yesterday that he expects Young’s .176/.250/.265 line since his 2013 debut to elevate. But how long does Manuel give it? Another month and a half, and the Phillies season could be over. Galvis-to-center/Mayberry-to-waivers would enable making Ruf a reinforcement in time to keep the Phillies relevant.
It also gives Manuel more ways to get Galvis’ bat in the lineup and help it develop even further.
As for a timetable: Circle their June 11-13 series in Minnesota. That allows the organization to debut Ruf (a) on the road and (b) as a DH first, kind of how they did Young in Cleveland. It also gives Manuel time to break in Galvis in center and observe Ruf and Mayberry heading in divergent directions — assuming that happens and means Ruf isn’t the one to struggle.
Reasons for calling up Ruf are easy. He’s right-handed, actually hits lefties, can tap out Howard without a major offensive compromise (as there would be with Mayberry, Nix or Kevin Frandsen) and, you know, may or may not have 40-home run potential, something you’d probably want to find out about sooner rather than later. Especially since here, “later” could be after the complete deconstruction of your roster.
The question is, does Galvis playing center create a roster spot for him?
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