The Phillies had to submit their list of 40 playoff-eligible players to MLB Sunday but it included only 37 healthy players.
Among their 40 were J.T. Realmuto, Rhys Hoskins and Jose Alvarez.
Realmuto has missed 11 straight games with a hip/quad injury. Hoskins has missed those same 11 games with an elbow injury that may require Tommy John surgery. The Phillies have gone 4-7 without them and averaged 3.6 runs per game.
Alvarez has been out since August 20, when he was struck in the groin by a 105 mph line drive.
As GM Matt Klentak explained Monday, the upside of those players potentially returning outweighed having three extra healthy bodies.
"The decision to carry injured players with, in some cases, unknown timeframes for return ... we had to assess the impact that those players could have if they do return and make a judgment on that," he said.
"You use Rhys as an example. We don't know exactly what Rhys' timeframe is. He's making good progress. And he is tough as nails. So I believe if anybody can return and beat the expectation, it'll be him. But we don't know exactly what the day is going to be. But you figure if he can get back, that's a guy we're going to want on our team. So that's why we make the decision to carry him.
"Jose Alvarez is another example. Just because of his 45-day IL status, he's not eligible to come back in the regular season, or in the wild-card round, but he could pitch for us in the division series. And for us, just given his effectiveness the last year and a half that we've had him, that made sense for us.
"Now, we had to weigh some of those decisions against the desire to have healthy bodies that are able to come up this week, and potentially in the playoffs if we need them. And we've seen this year just how quickly that can surface. How in a day or two, you might need to call on two or three new players. So we tried to balance out the pitchers and catchers and the position players as best we could to make sure that we have depth in a variety of areas without really knowing what the future is going to hold."
After September 23, teams cannot alter their 40-player pools. Through then, a change could be made if a team successfully petitions the league after suffering an injury.
The importance of Realmuto and Hoskins is obvious. They are two of the Phillies' first four hitters and the lineup is much shallower without them.
Alvarez has been the Phillies' most consistent reliever since the start of 2019, posting a 3.17 ERA in 75 appearances. He was transferred to the 45-day IL last week and is ineligible to be activated until October 5, which would be in the middle of the NLDS.
The Phillies have to actually make the playoffs for any of this to matter. Their loss Monday in D.C. pushed them back in the NL playoff field.