Revisiting the 40 Man Roster Math

We are a couple weeks into Spring Training and still a month from the start of the season, so it is not too early to speculate on the final roster. With all the questions about our new lord and savior Brock Stassi in my Good Phight Mailbag, I decided to revisit the 40 man roster and how it dictates the roster decisions. My goal here is not to predict a final roster, but to outline the consequences to decisions.

I see 22 spots locked up on the Phillies 25 man roster right now.

Starting Lineup (8): Rupp, Joseph, Hernandez, Galvis, Franco, Kendrick, Herrera, Saunders
Bench (3): Knapp, Altherr, Blanco

I don’t know if Knapp really is a better option than Hannigan, but to take the veteran the Phillies would need to waive a player and force Knapp into a bad place in AAA. Altherr is the only player other than Herrera who can play center field.

Starters (5): Hellickson, Eickhoff, Buchholz, Nola, Velasquez
Relievers (6): Neris, Gomez, Benoit, Ramos, Neshek, Rodriguez

Ramos has been better than anyone who could beat him out for a spot. While Burnett and Cesar Ramos could argue they are equal to Joely Rodriguez, the Phillies would essentially have to waive Rodriguez if he didn’t make the team and that isn’t worth it for a journeyman spot.

Beyond the major league roster there are some locks to go to the minors. The first category is the elite level guys who just don’t have room in the majors right now. The other is the newly added players, as none of them have done anything in the past few weeks to have the Phillies decide to expose them to waivers if they weren’t going to expose them to the Rule 5 draft.

Veteran 40 maners (4): Thompson, Eflin, Alfaro, Quinn
New 40 maners (10): Appel, Anderson, E. Garcia, Lively, Pinto, Pivetta, Tirado, Valentin, Cozens, Williams

Now if you have done the math that is 36 spots on the 40 man roster locked up and 3 spots on the major league roster to be filled. That leaves these guys.

The Others: L. Garcia, Asher, Morgan, Goeddel

I think the Phillies have Asher a step above the other 3, but I have him over the locks because he is the most expendable of the players who have been around a while. So now we have the spots to fill on the major league roster. Luckily enough, the three bench players already locked in give us a C, SS, and CF as well as two switch hitters and a righty bat, so the two bench players can come from any positions. As for the bullpen, a lefty would get more priority but it doesn’t look like it needs to be a lefty. So here are the contenders (*40 man roster)

Hitters: Hannigan, Florimon, Gomez, Stassi, Coghlan, Nava, Perkins, Valentin*
Pitchers: Morgan*, Asher*, Garcia*, Beato, Mariot, Ramos, Murray, Burnett

We already know the Phillies need to clear 1 spot to complete the major league bench, and I feel safe saying that spot is Luis Garcia’s. So let’s lay out some scenarios.

Do No Harm:

In: Valentin, Stassi/Coghlan/other, Morgan/Asher
Out: L. Garcia

If the Phillies only want to waive one player they have take Jesmuel Valentin on their bench and carry one of the 40 man pitchers as a reliever. It is not ideal for Valentin’s development or putting the best Phillies team on the field, but Valentin has hit enough and has the defensive flexibility to make it justifiable. The modified version of this plan is to waive Morgan for a left handed reliever.

I am Sorry Tyler Goeddel:

In: Coghlan, Stassi/other, Morgan/Asher
Out: L. Garcia, Goeddel

Goeddel needs a year in AAA, but with the Phillies outfield depth and his poor spring, he could find himself on the outside looking in. It is almost certain he would be claimed on waivers given that he has 3 options still remaining, so I see a trade for cash considerations happening. Once again you could swap Morgan out for a non-roster lefty.

Who Needs Two Lefties?:

In: Coghlan, Stassi/other, Asher
Out: L. Garcia, Morgan

The Phillies get to keep Tyler Goeddel to evaluate in AAA. The cost is that they only get one major league lefty and Alec Asher is the long man. It isn’t what Mackanin is looking for, but it might be the best management of resources.

Burn It All Down:

In: Coghlan, Stassi/other, Ramos/Burnett
Out: L. Garcia, 2 of Goeddel/Asher/Morgan

The Phillies just waive three players and take a team north with some age on it. The likely survivor here is probably Asher, though he has the highest chance of being flipped for something that is not horrid and not on a 40 man roster.

In the end the math is simple, but the decision may not be. If someone is hurt short term then the roster becomes near unworkable.

Author: Matt Winkelman

Matt Winkelman

Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has appeared on Phuture Phillies, The Good Phight, and TheDynastyGuru.


  1. Eddie

    Whenever I start thinking about these kinds of things, my brain hurts and I just say “ehhh, someone’s gonna blow out their elbow.”

  2. Chip

    I hope someone in the Phillies organization reads this.

  3. Rei De Bastoni

    I very much prefer “Do No Harm”

  4. Kurdt Kobeyn

    Luis Garcia’s fate is almost a foregone conclusion – so that’s one spot open. Goeddel is still 50-50, although with the current OF depth and new prospects that need to be added to the 40-man (i.e. JPC, Hoskins, Eshelman, etc) by end of season, there’s no place for Goeddel. Goeddel’s really horrid ST might help Klentak to slip him thru waivers.

    Knapp is the one not helping his case. He’s role is supposed to be the bat from the bench on both sides of the plate. But both NRI’s are currently outplaying him. With his advance age and hit tool, I think the Phils will give him that back up C spot and give Alfaro full time in AAA.

    Without any trades, I can see the Phils DFA Goeddel and Luis Garcia to give room for 2 bench spots — a LH bat in Stassi and/or Coghlan, another C in Holaday or INF in Gomez.

    Morgan will be moved to the pen as the long man and another LH arm to join Neris, Ramos, Neshek, Benoit, Gomez, Joely.

    If Klentak can’t pull the trigger on Goeddel — Valentin or Goeddel will be in the 25-man until a roster spot (via injury or trade) opens up.

  5. Bob D

    I have no idea how Luis Garcia survived the winter on 40 man.

    The wildcard is if a player already on 40 man is put on 60 day DL, fortunately no one falls into that category right now. Eflin could start there but it seems that he is doing well enough to stay on roster so he can pitch in AAA. That is the best option long term and I would avoid that myself if I were GM.

    An Asher/Morgan/ other 40 man player trade is a way to relieve this roster pressure. To other teams they would be valued. Especially Morgan who could be a real option to at least a handful of teams, to be in the rotation.