Changes Loom For Phillies: Papelbon Wants Out and Utley No Longer Face of Franchise
Papelbon wants out of Philly once again.
Tuesday morning signaled the beginning of changes on the Phillies roster, starting with right-handed pitcher Sean O’Sullivan and culminating with the announcement that Chase Utley wouldn’t be the club’s everyday second basemen for the remainder of the season.
Just over halfway through the season, the Phillies hold the worst record in baseball at the moment at 29-57. General manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. announced at the beginning of the season that the team was in a rebuilding state, and Amaro finally made his first move at rebuilding early Tuesday morning.
Following the team’s 10-7 loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night, the Phillies announced that O’Sullivan would be outrighted to triple-A Lehigh Valley after giving up six earned runs for the third straight game. Taking O’Sullivan’s place on the roster for the time being will be right-handed reliever Hector Neris. O’Sullivan appeared in 13 games for the Phillies and managed a lowly 6.08 ERA. He now must decide whether or not he wants to remain in the Phillies system or become a free agent.
The Phillies made a second change to their rotation on Tuesday as well, designating right-handed starter Kevin Correia for assignment. Correia didn’t get off to a bad start after signing with the Phillies on June 8, allowing no runs in his debut against the Pirates, but met a rocky finish allowing nine runs on 10 hits while only lasting 3 1/3 innings in Atlanta on Saturday. Correia has constantly fluctuated between the minor leagues and the big leagues, but finishes this stint in the major leagues with a 6.56 ERA in five starts.
Taking Correia’s place will be 22-year-old right-hander Severino Gonzalez. Gonzalez currently holds an 8.28 ERA in his six major league starts this season, which isn’t much help for a starting rotation that is no stranger to giving up runs with a 5.98 collective ERA for the five-man rotation following the addition of Gonzalez.
In addition to the roster changes, closer Jonathan Papelbon is requesting a trade once again. Just under a month away from the July 31 trade deadline, Papelbon made it clear he wants to play for a contender saying, “I would be surprised [if I wasn’t traded]. The front office knows where my heart is and where my mind is. And that’s to be with a contending ballclub.”
Papelbon has a limited no-trade clause that would allow him to veto any trade to one of 17 teams on that list if he wants. Papelbon currently has 14 saves and a 1.65 ERA this season.
Amaro also made it clear on Tuesday that Utley will no longer be the everyday second baseman for the club when he returns from the DL. Utley has become a centerpiece to the franchise. Typically Utley is soft-spoken, which is why many were surprised when his frustration boiled over in mid-June when he and then-manager Ryne Sandberg got into it in the dugout. Utley, batting .179 in 65 games this season, will be replaced by Cesar Hernandez, who is hitting .302 and currently has an 11-game hitting streak.
“Cesar Hernandez is our best second baseman,” said Amaro. “I would assume that Cesar would be our second baseman. I think that’s fair.”
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