On September 1st the Phillies roster expands two spots on September 1st. This is a huge change from when the roster would expand from 25 to 40 on this date. Dave Dombrowski and the Phillies need to be much more strategic in who they re-call up to the big leagues.
It is also worth noting that August 31st at 11:59pm is the deadline for the 40-man roster. The Phillies are in the heat of a playoff race. If they want to make another run at the World Series and avenge last year's defeat, they need to have the best possible roster.
The roster is not set at the moment. Christian Pache continues to be on Major League Rehab assignment and Jake Cave remains with the Phillies. Pache continues have setbacks in his recovery and his future still seems unknown. When Pache is set to return, he will more than likely be added to the roster, and I would assume Cave would return to the minors.
There is a lot to discuss with Kingery. The most important part is he is not art of the 40-man roster. Earlier I said the Phillies need to have the best possible roster. That is why to make room for Kingery on the 40-man roster, the Phillies should release Rodolfo Castro. Right now Castro is not really a huge difference maker. The Phillies can improve their bench, and replacing Castro should be the move.
When the roster expands, the Phillies should look for a utility player. Defensively Kingery is exactly what the club would be looking for. This season he has 29 games at 2B, 49 games at SS, and 17 games in CF. Offensively he has a slash line of .256/.341/.424 this season and is 2nd on the team in steals.
Kingery's first tenure in the big leagues did not end well. His lack of development is the main contributor to him being a long-term minor leaguer. If he returns to the Phillies, he will return a much different player than when he first left. He has versatility to play multiple positions, he has a good bat, and has a good relationship with the entire club house.
There were reports that Kingery was in serious contention for the Opening Day roster, but ultimately lost his spot to Josh Harrison. If I am Dave Dombrowski, Kingery should get the call. He will return a much better player than when he left the first time. Now that Gabe Kapler and Joe Girardi are gone, Topper will be able to utilize Kingery to his best potential.
Another guy with MLB experience. Nelson is 6-2 with 3.82 ERA with the IronPigs this season. Nelson was a strong candidate to make the Opening Day roster in 2023 before an injury sidelined him to start the season. After completing rehab starts in low-A, AA, and AAA, he remained in AAA for the entire season.
If Nelson is re-called, I do not expect to see him as a starter for the Phillies. The club is currently working with a 6-man rotation when healthy. Nelson would join the bullpen and hopefully help solidify that. The Phillies biggest weakness is their bullpen. With the postseason right around the corner, solidifying the bullpen and everyone's role should be a priority. Adding Nelson into the mix would be a huge benefit given his previous MLB and World Series experience from last season. With his ability to also be a starter, this would give Rob Thomson many more opportunities.
This one may scratch some heads. He wasn't awful by the time he was optioned down to AAA. It was obvious that was always part of the plan. He was coming around both defensively and offensively at the time of his option. He has stepped up in AAA this season. In his last 25 games, Clemons has hit 10 home runs which is the most on the team, while hitting 3 in one game just the other day. Even though Clemons has played mostly 1B, he has a lot of experience around the infield and outfield while in AAA. The priority for fielders has to be versatility, and Clemons checks those boxes.
Do I think Clemons would re-join the team and be a total game changer, but he can contribute. On top of being versatile in the field and hitting the long ball, he has a slash line of .265/.384/.544 while in AAA.
Christian Pache/Jake Cave
This was seeming to be so obvious, but I am just going to throw it in here, so people do not get mad. I believe when both are healthy, they both will be on the roster post September 1st. Cave is starting to come around and has gained the trust of the clubhouse. We saw this last night when he entered the game in the bottom of the 9th as a pinch hitter. Pache's only concern is his health. If he can stay healthy and have no more setbacks, he should re-join the team as a defensive replacement in the 9th.
This is the biggest longshot of all the players I have mentioned. He has a small sample size of MLB experience last September but in my opinion has earned another opportunity. Muzziotti has been the most consistent player for the IronPigs this season. His only flaw is his position. He is a corner outfielder and with Brandon Marsh returning from injury and Johan Rojas making a strong case for the long-term CF position, the Phillies have no need for an OF.
This season Muzziotti has come through in numerous clutch moments. In June he had 3 straight games of walk-off hits or game tying hits. His confidence at the plate is so hard to describe that you have to witness it. He leads the team in hits, triples, and stolen bases. He has a slash line of .324/.381/.450. With the Phillies not needing an outfielder right now, Muzziotti's chances of getting re-called are slim. However, if he does end up earning a spot, Phillies fans should be thrilled.
Drew Ellis/ Weston Wilson
I will group both of these together since they are basically the same at this point. They both have MLB experience this season. Their numbers are not crazy good, but definitely not bad. Earlier I said the Phillies need to put their best possible roster together to make another run at the World Series. Even though I have been huge fan of both Ellis and Wilson, there are better options right now.