They’re dropping like flies this afternoon.
The Phillies have placed Ryan Howard on the DL, obviously figuring that his ankle needs more than a day or two of rest. They’ve called up John Mayberry to take his place on the roster.
The entire Phillies infield has been on the DL now at some point this season, and the infield is obviously the heart and soul of this team. Like I said yesterday in the Power Rankings: if the Phillies can overcome this and still take the division, Charlie Manuel has to be the manager of the year in the National League. Though I’m guessing Bud Black wins it no matter what.
So can they overcome it? It seems unfair, but a lot of that has to do with young Domonic Brown, who will need to shoulder even more of the offensive load than he might have otherwise been expected to. It also means that the margin for error is that much less, meaning that the Phillies’ bullpen can’t give away games like it did against the Nationals on Saturday.
Like anything else that has happened to the Phillies this year, this, in and of itself, is not insurmountable. Chase Utley’s injury was far more devastating, frankly, and they’ve more or less survived that. But at some point these things start to add up, the bench begins to get taxed and things go sideways.
Free agent right-hander Chris Tillman is narrowing his pool of potential suitors, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Returning to the Orioles is one option, of course, but Heyman also mentions another two undisclosed teams who are still in the running. An earlier report from Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun suggests that as many as four teams may be in the mix; either way, a final decision is expected by Monday.
Tillman, 29, has spent the entirety of his major league career in Baltimore. After posting career-high numbers in 2016, his progress was derailed during an injury-plagued 2017 campaign, during which he missed nearly six weeks on the disabled list with recurring right shoulder inflammation. He finished the season with a bloated 7.84 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 4.9 SO/9 over 93 innings.
While the mystery teams have yet to reveal themselves, the Blue Jays, Twins and Tigers have all expressed interest in the veteran right-hander this offseason. Both the Blue Jays and Twins have made big moves to bolster their rotations over the last few days, with the additions of Jaime Garcia and Jake Odorizzi, respectively. That doesn’t mean that Tillman is out of reach, however — if his price is right, he could provide some much-needed depth for pitching staffs that finished 15th and 22nd in the league last year.