Cody Asche appears to be the odd man out on the Phillies roster
There’s a Sopranos storyline when you know someone is going to get whacked — you just don’t know when it’s going to happen.
Such is the off-season of Cody Asche. You know GM Matt Klentak is going to “whack” him. And it may happen sooner than we think.
On Dec. 2, the Phillies will have four players — Jeanmar Gomez, Freddy Galvis, Cesar Hernandez and Asche — who will become arbitration eligible. The Phils will offer arbitration to Galvis and Hernandez and probably offer it to Gomez. But Asche will get offered bupkis, thus non-tendering his contract, and he’ll effectively become a free agent.
May 3, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley (R) fist bumps third baseman Cody Asche (L) after scoring a run during the seventh inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Once upon a time, Asche was considered a top prospect in the organization. A grit-and-guts gamer in the mold of his idol, Chase Utley. But Asche never put up the numbers he did in the minors and got bumped to left-field when the Phillies anointed Maikel Franco the third-baseman of the future.
Fellow FanSided reporter, George Stockburger, predicted the deathknell for Asche as a Phillie when Klentak sent Darin Ruf to the Dodgers for Howie Kendrick earlier this month. The GM said Kendrick was acquired to play Asche’s position, left field.
In the outfield, Asche looks the way I do on the dance floor — not too smooth. Perhaps the stress of learning a new position compromised his bat.
Jun 28, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Cody Asche (25) catches fly ball during the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Last year, while only playing left-field, he hit a career-low .213 in 218 plate appearances. He has a .240 career average in four seasons and doesn’t mesh with Philly’s masterplan.
Not all looks gloomy for Asche. If he gets cut loose, some team will snap him up fast. He’s only 26, and could fill a utility role. For some non-tendered guys, all it takes is a scenery switch to kickstart a career.
Not long ago the Mets non-tendered Justin Turner, who latched on with Dodgers and has become one of the best-hitting third-basemen in the game.
If non-tendered, could Asche become the next Turner? Probably not. But a team could shift him back to third base, and he could find the bat he had in the minors (he batted .295 at AAA with 15 HR in 2013).
If the Phils surprise us and tender Asche’s contract, don’t bet on him sticking around for Opening Day 2017. Klentak will deal him as he did another once-prospect — Ruf — who, like Asche, got bumped to the outfield before they shipped him out. No matter what, the clock is ticking on Cody Asche as a Phillie; it’s only a matter of time.