With the Cincinnati Reds set to visit Philadelphia for the opening of the 2016 season on April 4th, the Phillies are still going through some of the easier decisions that they have to make to cut their roster down to the 25-man limit for opening day. After sending four players out on Monday, two more right-handers were optioned out on Tuesday. Alec Asher and David Buchanan were both optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday, following moves that optioned shortstop J.P. Crawford and outfielder Nick Williams to the minors and reassigned Roman Quinn and Edubray Ramos to minor league camp on Monday.
None of the group were expected to make the club, with only Buchanan having any regular major league experience and never having been an option to win back the starter's job that he won last season in spring training. While Buchanan opened the season with the Phillies in 2015, he struggled to a 6.99 ERA in 15 starts with the team and spent a good portion of the season at Lehigh Valley. Buchanan's worst outing of the season came in an August 11th game at Arizona when he allowed 11 earned runs in 1 2/3 innings, prompting him to be optioned to Lehigh Valley the following day. In 35 MLB starts, Buchanan has an 8-17 record and a 5.01 ERA with Philadelphia.
Asher also pitched for the Phillies last season as part of their late season call-ups. Asher made his major league debut on August 30th against San Diego, going 5 2/3 innings and allowing four earned runs. He finished the year with seven starts and a 9.31 ERA with the club after coming over from the Texas Rangers in the Cole Hamels deal.
Another member of the group acquired for Hamels, Williams spent his time with Philadelphia late last year at Double-A Reading, helping lead the team to the Eastern League Championship Series. Williams hit four home runs and batted .320 in 22 games at Reading, giving him a combined mark of 17-55-.303/.354/.491 between Double-A Frisco and Reading in 2015. Williams will likely open the season at Lehigh Valley alongside outfielder Roman Quinn, who was hurt for most of last season and looks to put together a full season for the first time since his professional debut in 2012. Various injuries, including an Achilles injury, a wrist injury and a torn hip flexor suffered last June. At the time he was hurt, he was tied for the league lead with six triples and 44 runs scored and was hitting .306 for the Fightin' Phils.
Crawford and Ramos both split last season between Reading and High-A Clearwater, with Crawford hitting a combined .288 with six home runs and 42 RBI. Considered the organization's top prospect, Crawford is the heir to the starting shortstop job in Philadelphia once he is deemed ready to play in the majors. It's also likely that Crawford will open the season with Lehigh Valley after playing 86 games at Reading, where he hit .265. At Clearwater, Crawford, who was then just 20-years old, hit .392 in 21 games with the Threshers. Ramos was a combined 4-6 with a 2.07 ERA in the two stops, including going 3-4 with a 1.46 ERA in 29 relief appearances with the Threshers prior to being promoted to Reading in early July.