It's going to be a few weeks before the Phillies get to take up arms in the postseason. Until then, fans can quench their playoff thirst with the players of the future, thanks to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, their Triple-A affiliate, making the postseason for the first time in their four year history(and Double-A Reading returning to the playoffs for the first time in two seasons for that matter).
And while I'll certainly be pulling for them in their quest to emerge as the best team in the International League, part of me wishes that they would be without some of their best players, if only to provide the Phillies with some much needed reinforcements for the final few weeks of the season.
Now that it's September, Major League teams can expand their rosters to 40 players, and can add as many as 15 additional players to the big league team for the final month of the season, thus allowing them to bolster their bench, add another few arms to the 'pen, or perhaps most importantly, rest their starters.
I've talked about this at length over the past week or so, but it's certainly curious that the Phillies have not fully taken advantage of this opportunity. Prior to both Kyle Kendrick, Joe Blanton and Pete Orr returning to the team to provide them with much needed depth in the bullpen and bench, the Phillies had operated with 25 players for the entire season.
And now that the Phillies have a bit of a death grip on the division and on the best record in the National League, there remains very little reason for them to stick with the usual 25 while they have the option to call up some warm bodies to bridge the final batch of games until October to spell some of the veterans.
While players like outfielder Domonic Brown and shortstop Freddy Galvis could get their fill of big league experience while giving some of the regulars a rest, there are other players who could be auditioning for a role on the club in 2012, and perhaps for a spot in the 'pen in October. Among them are slugger Brandon Moss, speed guy Scott Posednik and relief pitchers Justin De Fratus and Phillippe Aumont -- a pair of hard-throwing right handers who could prove to be a huge x-factor.
I certainly don't wish to deprive the young squads of some of their better players, but the success of the organization is riding on the success of the players on the Major League roster, not the minor league rosters.
Even if the Phillies wish to head into October with the roster as currently constituted, there is still little reason for them not to bolster their bench and 'pen for the home stretch. With so much riding on the health of the everyday players (Ryan Howard, Placido Polanco, Shane Victorino, Carlos Ruiz, etc.) when the time comes, the success of the minor league club in the playoffs is really quite inconsequential.