Phillies make the smart move, send Bohm and Howard to Lehigh Valley
On Wednesday the Phillies made the decision to send the team’s top two prospects; starting pitcher Spencer Howard and infielder Alec Bohm to Lehigh Valley to begin the shortened 60-game 2020 season.
By holding the two highly touted young players back only five days the Phillies will maintain control of the pair until after the 2026 season rather than 2025.
“It’s part of it,” Howard said. “There’s not much than I can do about it other than take care of my work every day and try to get a little bit better and keep progressing, and what they choose to do is up to them. But I think as far as just keeping everything that I can control, keep that rolling. That’s my mindset toward it.”
“There’s no hard feelings about it,” Bohm said. “It is what it is. That’s a thing they can do. That’s a smart business move. I’m not going to hold any grudge over it or raise a stink about it. It’s part of the game. Everybody’s gone through it.”
A normal major league season consists of 187 days. Players that spend 172 days or more on the 25-man roster or the injured list are credited with a full year of service time. Anything less and the club will have arbitration control of the player for an additional year.
Last year the Toronto Blue Jays made headlines when they sent top overall prospect Vladmir Guerrero Jr. to AAA Buffalo to begin the season despite clearly being the club’s best option at third base. He was called up to the big league just weeks later in late April.
Notably, Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs brought a grievance against his current team arguing they had unfairly manipulated his service time in 2015 when they sent him to the minors to begin the season. Chicago cited his defense abilities as the primary reason for the demotion. In January, Bryant lost the grievance filed on his behalf by the Player’s Association and is set to become a free agent after the 2021 season instead of 2020 as he had hoped.