It is just over two weeks until opening day so it is time once again to look at the spring training roster battles. The first version from two weeks ago is here.
A lot of movement this week. There is no way Ruf and Sizemore are being supplanted given what their competitors have done. The Phillies wanted Cameron Rupp to win the backup catcher job, and he has done nothing to make that a bad decision. On the pitching side, Buchanan moves to a lock with Lee’s injury and Andy Oliver locks up the second lefty spot with a solid spring and his Rule 5 status.
With Ruf and Sizemore in the outfield to go along with Herrera’s flexibility, the actual positions of these spots aren’t too critical. It is likely that with Utley still ailing, the Phillies bring Hernandez along for now so they don’t have to DFA him. Now it comes down to whether they feel that they need a true backup shortstop, at which point d’Arnaud looks like the slight leader. I feel they like what Cord Phelps has brought and the fact that he is a switch hitter only helps his case. That less spot next to Hernandez will likely go down to the wire though.
The fact that Rodriguez is in this race is kind of impressive. His spot already on the 40-man roster gives him an edge on Clemens, but Slowey has been equally as impressive this spring. Gonzalez has not looked like a starting pitcher so far, which really hurts his chances. In the end, since this likely only temporary until Chad Billingsley gets back, I think they go with Slowey.
There a few questions that need to be answered before we can decide on the last spots in the bullpen.
- Do the Phillies want 2 or 3 lefties?
- Do the Phillies need a long man given SP questions?
- How many 40 man spots are up for grabs?
I think the answer is that they want 3 lefties and so that leaves Hollands and Araujo for a single spot, and while they like Araujo a lot, the spot likely goes to Hollands because of his MLB experience and that they can give Araujo more innings in AAA. As for a long man, a bullpen with De Fratus, Hollands, and Oliver can fake enough innings to take up the pressure if a start goes bad. That combined with a lack of 40 man spots (we have Lee and a Aumont DFA freeing up spots for Slowey and Phelps), gives this spot almost by default to Luis Garcia since he is in a better position than Neris or Ogando who could use more minor league time.
The Phillies Unreasonable Expectations Power Rankings:
- Odubel Herrera
- Elvis Araujo
- National Media
It was a really calm past couple of weeks as depression has set in already for Phillies fans. The big camp surprises in Herrera and Araujo are in the list because they are unproven players that people are expecting to have major league contributions. It is more overly optimistic than unreasonable. But ending the list this week is the National Media who we have expected to provide some amount of semi-reasonable coverage of baseball, and yet have consistently disappointed this year with the Phillies. This is more an indictment of us for continuing to click articles about Amaro and Hamels and expecting different results.
Image by Baseball Betsy