Back in the day, roughly from the 1950s to 1963, Casper The Friendly Ghost was a popular children’s TV cartoon.
If there are two things Casper Wells has proven in his short stay so far with the Philadelphia Phillies, it’s that he has not been team-friendly, and his baseball skills have been ghost-like. Wells was signed by the Phillies as an extra outfielder by GM Ruben Amaro Jr. in July, despite the fact that he carried only a .155 batting average for the Chicago White Sox at the time.
Wells is spending his time for the Phillies hitting the same way he did for the White Sox, meaning not at all. His average is .043 (that’s one hit in 25 plate appearances, including two walks). Then, with the Phillies needing a position player to pitch in an 18-inning game on Saturday night, Wells, a former pitcher at Towson University, volunteered, only to get lit up for five runs in a loss. Actually, Wells was a decent pitcher for Towson, going 8-5 in his career there, including 6-0 as a junior.
He did not prove to be a decent major league pitcher on Saturday night, however, giving up five runs in the 18th inning, and robbing the Phils’ chance to have a team-record fourth-straight walk-off win. His ERA is now 67.50. That, combined with an .043 batting average, says it all about Wells’ stay with the team. So the Phillies, already knowing that Wells cannot hit, have also found out that he cannot pitch. So why is he on the team?
Going into the final week of the Triple-A season, the Phils’ affiliate, the Iron Pigs, are three and a half games out of a playoff spot. Amaro Jr. wants that team to make the playoffs because of the additional games that gives some of his Double-A call-ups, notably third baseman Maikel Franco, to develop.
By signing and keeping Wells, and to a lesser extent fellow outfielder Roger Bernadina, Amaro Jr. is using those bodies to keep spots on the bench warm until the Triple-A season is over.
The good news is that some of those solid prospects will be making the trip to Philadelphia eventually. The better news is that players like Wells will be an interesting footnote in Phillies’ history soon, and nothing more.