The Philadelphia Phillies are going through a Spinal Tap thing with their infield. Well, every team goes through some sort of Spinal Tap moment at some point every off-season. The Marlins originally ordered a 900-foot home-run feature, but some goofball in the front office wrote it as 900'', so they had to make do with a tiny 75-foot structure that you can barely notice.
The Phillies' Spinal Tap thing has to do with them losing infielders like drummers.
Chase Utley's knees are making people speak in hushed, creepy tones about his future. Ryan Howard's ankle is infected, pushing his return back even farther. Placido Polanco's finger is jammed, though he should miss only a few games. Jimmy Rollins is cool, but he's right to want to duct-tape pillows to his torso and limbs and stay in the clubhouse. The infield if the season were to start today:
I think at least two of those people are hockey players. And, again, it looks worse than it is because Polanco's not in there, and he should be back by Opening Day. The main concern is with Utley, who has no timetable, and who will likely need regular rest even when he's not on the disabled list. Getting another infielder would probably be a good idea. Here, then, is a list of some of the infielders in whom the Phillies might be interested:
At the end of last May, Andino had a .371 on-base percentage. He was one of those players that columnists had to include in their required "Is He For Real?" columns. He was not. Well, he's for real, but just as a competent utility infielder pushed into a starting job because he's on the Orioles. But Ryan Flaherty is already 25, and he could probably slide into the second-base job without hurting the Orioles' AL East chances too badly. Andino's probably one of the better options for the Phillies.
Oh. Fine, Burriss is having a good spring, he's out of options, and the Giants have Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot as utility options. And … I mean, yeah, Emmanuel Burriss. Knock yourselves out, Phillies.
You're going too fast. Hold on. Let me grab a pen.
Now you're just looking out your window and making names up based on what you see.
He's a broadcaster now, isn't he? Hold on …
Okay, we get it. Have you ever played fantasy baseball? You hold your draft, and you're all excited about your team, thinking of all the ways you're going to win the league. Then a couple of injuries happen, and the next thing you know you're staring at the name Koyie Hill, finger hovering over the "add on waivers" button, and wondering if your parents didn't pay enough attention to you as a child. That's where the Phillies are with infielders. Nothing is a good idea. There is no excitement left. Nothing will make that big of a difference.
The Phillies might add a utility infielder. When they do, Pete Orr will think, "I don't see what the big deal is. I'm as good as that guy." Pete Orr will probably be right. The Phillies will need to figure out what they can expect from Chase Utley, and if he's going to miss some serious time, the team might have to explore trading legitimate prospects for someone like Neil Walker or Orlando Hudson. Until then, though, there probably isn't much of a difference between any of the out-of-option/fringe-utility players and what they have now. They just have to cross their fingers.
Well, not you Placido. Just hold tight and don't make any sudden movements.