CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 10: Left fielder Ezequiel Carrera #12 of the Cleveland Indians makes a diving catch on a line drive off the bat of Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox in the fourth inning at Progressive Field on August 10, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
If you had “April 2” for when the Phillies would make their first move on the season, go right ahead and give yourself a big ol' pat on the back, because the Phillies have gone ahead and claimed outfielder Ezequiel Carrera off of waivers, according to the Inquirer's Matt Gelb.
Carrera, a left-handed hitting outfielder by way of the Cleveland Indians, has a .255/.312/.395 line in 349 at-bats over two seasons with the Tribe, with a pair of homers and 18 stolen bases. As a minor leaguer, he has a career line of .291/.367/.380 line, with an average of 23 stolen bases per season. He can't hit for power (20 HR in eight minor league seasons), but he can get on base at a decent clip. According to most scouting reports, he also plays a mean outfield, and he can run the bases with aplomb.
In order to add Carrera to the roster, the Phillies designated OF Ender Inciarte for assignment. And because Inciarte is a Rule 5 draft pick, he must first be offered back to the Arizona Diamondbacks (whom the Phillies plucked him from) after clearing waivers. If the D'Backs do not wish to keep Inciarte, the Phillies will have the opportunity to keep the speedy centerfielder in their system.
Inciarte, who impressed during the spring with a decent bat and sterling defense, was someone who I really wanted to see have a chance with the Phillies in 2013. His skill set makes him a go-to player for a late-inning defensive substitution or pinch-runner, even if his bat still has a ways to go before it's Major League ready.
This move makes me wonder, considering that Carrera isn't a huge upgrade in the field or in the batter's box. That he has Major League experience probably wins him some points, but his minor league numbers aren't impressive enough for this move would be considered a slam dunk for the Phillies(.755 OPS vs RHP). At any rate, the Phillies probably just wanted some more experience to go along with their bench. Inciarte was fine for a 25th man, but at the end of the day, he is a minor leaguer.
However, you have to wonder if Carrera is even going to be around for too long, considering that Delmon Young is likely going to make the team when he gets healthy, meaning that the Phillies are going to have to shuffle the roster around, yet again.