We are about a month out from the deadline for the Phillies to add players to the 40 man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. The promotions of Maikel Franco and Ken Giles during the season eliminated two of the most interesting names needing protection, but there are still plenty of decisions that need to be made. Currently the Phillies roster is at 39 players, some will move on as free agents, others will be cut, and a small group might even get traded.
Roster Locks (21): David Buchanan, A.J. Burnett, Justin De Fratus, Jake Diekman, Ken Giles, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Cole Hamels, Mario Hollands, Cliff Lee, Ethan Martin, Jonathan Pettibone, Carlos Ruiz, Cody Asche, Maikel Franco, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Aaron Altherr, Marlon Byrd, Kelly Dugan, Ben Revere, Domonic Brown
I think there is a good chance that any of Burnett, Hamels, Byrd, and Brown aren’t back next year. This is more showing that if they are moved it will be a player outside of the org sliding right into that 40 man spot. In other words they aren’t going to free up space.
They aren’t going to DFA or release any of these players, but they don’t all necessarily have a defined role you see them in. In the case of Galvis and Hernandez, both are out of minor league options and carrying both on the major league roster might not match the bench composition the Phillies are looking for. Darin Ruf’s fate is tied to Howard and Franco, the Phillies can only carry so many first baseman on the roster next year. You could see Ruf moved if they don’t believe in the OF and can’t move Howard. Rupp and Joseph are probably safe, but if it comes down to it then I think the Phillies keep Joseph. Rupp is 26 and has yet to show anything that says his peak isn’t just ok backup/AAAA catcher.
The only player I could see coming back is Nieves. Unless the Phillies think Rupp can handle the majors full time they are going to need a backup for Ruiz. Nieves offers a good combination of solid defense, occasional offensive usefulness, and cheapness.
Howard and Papelbon have their obvious reasons for departure. I am not sure the Phillies will move Papelbon without significant cash savings or a half decent prospect return. He is still a good pitcher, he just doesn’t have a place with the Phillies. Same could be said of Bastardo. He is getting more expensive in arb, could help a lot of teams, and is not in the Phillies long term plans. The Phillies won’t get a haul for him, but would be wise to move on. If the Phillies can save $10 on Howard they might just take it.
Not surprising they are all relievers. In the end all three are fungible for a better reliever needing a roster spot. Neris and Garcia bring pretty good raw stuff, but have not always translated that to results. Jimenez as a lefty who can pitch multiple innings will always have a job.
Aumont and Rosenberg are out of options and out of favor. Both do enough interesting things that DFAing them risks them being claimed and losing them for nothing. I think you see both moved to teams lower in the waiver order for a player off the 40 man roster who might have a chance at being a AAAA player. I expect Aumont to be passed around on waivers until a team successfully sneaks him to AAA and off the 40 man roster.
That leaves at least 8 spots completely open, and up to 11 easily opened. They still would need to fill a rotation spot, backup catcher, and some bullpen roles.
My #1 and #2 for the Phillies after the 2012 season. Things have gone less than ideal for the two lefties, but there is more than enough talent here to justify protecting them. Murray was a 13th round pick in 2011 had brings a plus fastball and curveball along with good control. It isn’t a high leverage profile right now, but he could step into a major league bullpen right now.
I have No Clue What do With You: Willians Astudillo
Astudillo doesn’t have a position, has not played above Low-A and can hit nearly anything. He is incredibly difficult to carry on a roster due to his lack of positional flexibility. The hit tool is so intriguing but it comes without extra bases either in walks or power. I just can’t see a team carrying him all year, if he is a super-sub he needs defensive reps, and you have no clue if he can hit major league pitching. But he is fun.
Both are giants, both bring fastballs in the low to mid 90s, both have control problems, and both will flash good breaking balls. Stewart is younger and more projectable, but Wright is closer to the major leagues. It will take the Phillies seeing more now stuff than I do to protect either, I do think Stewart is more danger of being drafted though.
Tease: Nefi Ogando
Ogando was up to 100 this year and has been consistently 95-97+ in the AFL. He still doesn’t have control or a slider, both of which he would need to have a long major league future. The Phillies might protect him because another org could take a flier that they can fix his problems and have a high leverage reliever for free.
All three have major league traits, but they lack the skills to stick on a major league roster all year. Pointer might be the most interesting case of the group because outfielders are easier to hide on a roster. For me he lacks the upside to make it worth carrying him all year.
Collier was actually removed from the 40 man roster this year and went unclaimed through waivers, but in the second half of the year he hit .266/.328/.514, and on the year he hit .259/.332/.455 vs RHPs. He is only 24, and plays a good center field. He certainly won’t be topping eligible lists, but that is a sneaky interesting profile. Adam Loewen is under contract with the Phillies for next year, but is actually Rule 5 eligible if a team decides they want to take a flier on him as a back end starter. Nunez is only 21 right now and didn’t pitch in 2011 and 2012, but the RHP has an interesting profile. It is back of the rotation stuff, but at 6’6″ 215 he has a frame that evaluators love to dream about. A team could hide him in the bullpen all year before returning him to the rotation. It is unlikely that he is picked or protected, but he is a very interesting guy to watch out for.
Not bad minor league players, but they lack the upside for a team to take the risk.
To very different players, Rosin showed signs of improvement over the year as he settled into the bullpen. Garner continues to regress, but he does have power reliever stuff. Both likely are safe.