With the dismal 2012 season approaching its end, there are several Philadelphia Phillies players auditioning for jobs on the 2013 25-man roster. Some faces will stay the same, but a lot will change by opening day, 2013. It's time for players to step up or step aside, because mediocrity will not be tolerated in this town.
With contracts expiring and try-outs already taking place, who will sink and who will swim are the questions Phillies fans are asking themselves. The Phillies front office has the last month of the season to figure out a lot about its team moving forward into the 2013 season.
Who will stay and who will go? The next few weeks should tell us a lot about the Phillies moving forward.
Here are five current Phillies who must have a big final month of the season or find themselves in the unemployment line in 2013.
Father Time is not on the side of Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco. Polanco will turn 37 in October, and in 2012 he has really shown his age, regressing in all major offensive categories. The Phillies have a $5.5 million dollar option on Polanco for 2013 which they will most definitely decline. There is a $1 million dollar buyout for declining his contract, but the Phillies will almost certainly move on from Polanco.
Since coming off the disabled list, Polanco has only played sparingly, being replaced by Kevin Frandsen who has produced well since his arrival. Placido's glove is still sharp, but his anemic bat has become a serious issue that has led him onto the bench.
So far in 2012, Polanco is batting .254 with only 2 HR and 19 RBI in 300 AB. He also has zero stolen bases, and a dreadful OPS of .629. Third base is a power position and Polanco may have the weakest bat out of any other third baseman in all of Major League Baseball.
If Polanco wants to play anywhere in 2013, he must step it up in the spare play he will receive for the rest of 2012. His time as a starter in the major leagues seems to be over; he has one month to boost his average, because if he can't hit, Polanco's days as a baseball player are numbered.
With the rise of Erik Kratz and Brian Schneider's inability to stay healthy, a job for Brian with the 2013 Phillies doesn't seem likely.
At age 35, if Brian does not come off the disabled list and play considerably well, he will find himself looking for a new team in 2013.
In the limited time Schneider has spent on the field this season, it has not been pretty. He's batting just .225 with only 2 HR and 7 RBI. His OPS is even worse at .637. With Ruiz aging, the Phillies need a lot more production from their backup catcher.
Brian will probably not even be given the chance for a big finish, but if he gets any playing time at all, he better make the most of it.
The Phillies thought they found something special in Antonio Bastardo with all the success he had for most of the 2011 season. Antonio took a nosedive in September last year and he has continued to free-fall as he continues to struggle with his command and confidence.
In 2012, Bastardo has a 5.13 ERA, with 4 blown saves, 59 K's, 22 BB and 33 H all in just 40.1 IP. Not exactly what the Phillies were hoping for. The strikeout ratio is encouraging, but the walks, hits and earned runs are not acceptable for the reliable setup man the Phillies need.
Also, with the emergence of Jeremy Horst and Raul Valdes' success, Bastardo has become expendable. If he does not step his game up in the rest of 2012, he could find himself at the back end of the bullpen, back in Triple-A or even in a different uniform in 2013.
Antonio has shown flashes of excellence and periods of disaster. Bastardo is his own worst enemy and he must put it together or the Phillies will have no other choice but to move on.
John Mayberry Jr. may have blown his last chance to become an everyday player for the Phillies. After a breakout year in 2011, Ruben Amaro Jr. and the Phillies front office believed Mayberry could play everyday at the major league level. Throughout the first 130 games, he has clearly proven he is not capable of playing everyday for a championship-caliber team.
Mayberry cannot hit right-handed pitching, his splits against them are terrible. He is batting .221 with an OPS of .609. It's a shame for John and the Phillies that the majority of pitchers in the major leagues happen to be right handed, because Mayberry's numbers are considerably better against the lefties.
John has a month to turn it around or the Phillies will be forced to either let him walk or let him play for a lesser role.
John's tenacity and hunger to improve are questionable. Mayberry shows no emotion out on the field and refuses to change his bad habits at the plate. From an outside perspective it appears Mayberry is just going through the motions. The Phillies want players like Chase Utley, Roy Halladay and Kevin Frandsen who bust their butts every single play, not a player who never shows an ounce of aggressiveness.
His body language shows no desire to improve; John must kick it into high gear before he is replaced and looking for work elsewhere.
When the Phillies received Nate Schierholtz as part of the deal that sent Hunter Pence to San Francisco, no one really knew what we would get from the 28-year-old who wanted a chance to play everyday. After he broke his toe on a foul ball, we still don't know.
His career numbers are modest to say the least, a career .263 hitter with little power and virtually no speed, he could be a fourth or fifth outfielder option for the Phillies in 2013. If he wants to be considered for a starting job next season, he will have to light the world on fire once he returns to action.
Nate should be off of the disabled list any day now and when he gets back from his injury he'll have about a month to prove he is worth the Phillies to re-sign. He will be a free agent at the end of this season so the Phillies have the month of September to decide if they want to keep him around or go with other options.
Let's see what you have Nate.