Schierholtz in center, Brown in right and... Kendrick in the rotation
When the Phils begin a three-game series against the defending World Champion St. Louis Cardinals on Friday, Manuel has slotted Brown in right, started Juan Pierre in left and has decided to check out what Nate Schierholtz could do in center field.
Center field, eh? Schierholtz has never played center field.
Not in the major leagues. Not in the minor leagues. Not in high school ball, American Legion ball or in Little League.
But just as with the decision to begin playing Brown every day over Pierre, the Phils have been operating with an eye on 2013 since the trade deadline. And Schierholtz came over from San Francisco with the reputation of being a very solid outfielder, albeit in right field.
Out of the playoff race, the Phils are taking the final two months of the season to take stock of what they do have now and what those players are capable of doing before making necessary moves this winter to improve the team.
"That's exactly what we're trying to do," Manuel said. "I want to look at everybody and evaluate them before the end of the year. We've got, 50-some games left? I think that's pretty good time to see what guys can do."
Makes a lot of sense.
But it also makes the second bit of news today somewhat interesting. Two days removed from watching Kyle Kendrick's latest less-than-stellar start against Atlanta, Manuel said the plan is to stick with the right-hander in the rotation.
"Right now I think there's probably a good chance he'll stay there for right now," Manuel said.
Although Kendrick ran off six straight starts where he allowed two runs or less earlier this season, the reality is he is 2-8 with a 5.01 ERA in 15 starts this season. He's inconsistent, and the Phils, like everyone else, should realize this by now and not really need to evaluate him as a starting pitcher.
Meanwhile, fans are filling up email inboxes and twitter feeds clamoring for Triple-A Lehigh Valley right-hander Tyler Cloyd to get an opportunity with the Phillies.
The 25-year-old Cloyd is 11-1 with a 2.12 ERA in 19 starts at Lehigh. He's struck out 84 batters in 123 innings; opponents have hit .208 against him.
As Todd Zolecki pointed out today, Cloyd isn't regarded as much of a prospect. Perhaps his potential is somewhat limited.
But if the Phils are in the evaluating-talent mode, why not see what Cloyd can do in the big leagues?
If you have nothing to lose throwing a 28-year-old in center field for the first time in his life, why not see if success on the Triple-A mound can translate at the major-league level?