Philadelphia Phillies: Latest Trade Creates Flexibility

By Sean O'Brien
Charlie Manuel
Christopher Hanewinckel–USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies‘ acquisition of Cleveland Indians‘ veteran infielder John McDonald isn’t earth-shaking. But, it does set up an interesting roster decision that will be made by June 28.

Who will general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. remove from his 25-man major league roster to make room for this 38-year-old utility man? Whatever the answer to that question is could enable manager Charlie Manuel to have increased in-game flexibility.

McDonald hasn’t played more than 100 games in any season for a major league team since he appeared in 123 games for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2007. He’s a classic journeyman, whose late-June acquisition raises a number of intriguing questions.

Looking at his body of work, we can see that McDonald has worn his shortstop’s glove (568 games) most often since first appearing in the big leagues in 1999. He’s also appeared in 209 games at second base, 135 games at third base and six games in left field. Combing all positions, he’s posted a decent .974 fielding percentage through 15 seasons.

The right-handed hitter has generated a .236 batting average and a .601 OPS across 2,526 plate appearances in his career.

Since he’s not a starter, McDonald isn’t going to supplant a current regular on the team. Instead he’ll join the bench.

Looking at their supplemental infield duo, the Phillies boast superb glove man Freddy Galvis and all-around gritty guy Kevin Frandsen.

Frandsen has purely been an infielder with Philadelphia, but did play 14 games in the outfield earlier in his career. Galvis is an outstanding defensive infielder who also appeared in left field, for the first time in his young major league career, for four games this season.

McDonald isn’t likely to bump either of those players off the roster, unless one of them is hurt and will be put on the disabled list tomorrow. However, it has been suggested that Galvis might need more playing time and could be sent to Triple-A.

With a new right-handed hitting utility man in the mid-season picture, will an outfielder (whose name obviously won’t be Domonic Brown) eventually be traded, released or sent down?

Is it possible that this move may trigger the July trade of a starting infielder?

In a season of increasing questions, this move has created another.

Follow Sean on Twitter @SeanyOB, Facebook, Google+ and read his blog Insight.

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