A lot of how the opening day roster will look will be determined by whether Charlie Manuel decides to go with 11 or 12 pitchers. After all, the roster crystal ball depends a lot on numbers, so the difference between 11 and 12 puts a whole new spin on things. For now though, let's just look at how things are stacking up as of now.
|ROSTER SPOT #||POSITION||PLAYER|
|3||3B||David Bell (DL?)|
|4||2B / 3B||Placido Polanco|
|8||CF / LF||Jason Michaels|
|13||OF||Shane Victorino / Marlon Byrd|
|18||SP||Vicente Padilla (DL?) / Gavin Floyd|
|24||RP||Terry Adams / Geoff Geary|
|25||RP||Aaron Fultz / Mike Bacsik|
Other names to consider:
- Jose Offerman - The non-roster invitee is fighting for a utility spot with the club, but his chances aren't great. It's very possible that he'll look to catch on elsewhere with some other team that might need a utility infielder.
- Ryan Howard - It's very doubtful that the Phillies will keep him with the big league club unless they can find a way for him to play everyday (injury / trade). Instead, Howard will go to AAA Scranton and split his time between first base and left field.
- Dan Giese - With the signing of Terry Adams, it's very unlikely that Giese will win a bullpen spot.
Keep in mind that David Bell could conceivably start the season on the DL. If he does, that would temporarily open up a roster spot. Offerman might have a shot at winning that job, since the Phillies would need another utility infielder. Bell's possible DL stint wouldn't help either Victorino or Byrd. The Phillies are taking a long look at minor league veterans Danny Sandoval, Chris Coste and Anthony Medrano this spring.
The battle between Shane Victorino and Marlon Byrd is a great one. Both came in to camp looking to win spots. Byrd has stated that he's in Clearwater not just to win a spot on the roster, but to win back his old center field job. That's unlikely, but to say the least, Byrd has been very impressive.
Victorino has the added benefit of having the Phillies risk losing him if they don't keep him since he was a Rule 5 Draft pick. He has also shown a lot both defensively and on the base paths, especially in taking an extra base on a base hit up the middle in Monday's win over Houston. That move helped spark a two-run ninth inning rally that gave the Phillies their first win of the spring. Then again, earlier in the game, Byrd lashed a two-run double. That battle is very close.
Would the Phillies keep Geoff Geary over Terry Adams? It's possible. The Phillies like Geary, but also like the added veteran presence that Adams brings to the bullpen. That "veteran presence" isn't as important under Charlie Manuel as it was under Larry Bowa though.
If the Phillies go with 12 pitchers, the battle between Aaron Fultz - who once dated Charlie Manuel's niece - and Mike Bacsik will turn out to be very interesting. Both were highly though of in the recent past, but both have stumbled at times. Like Byrd and Victorino, it could be a very interesting battle.
Why did we include Rheal Cormier's stats with those of Mike Bacsik and Aaron Fultz? There is a concern - not a great concern, but a concern - that Cormier won't do as well without Joe Kerrigan around. Cormier has been very open about how much Kerrigan helped his career and there are some that worry about that. In the past, Cormier was two different pitchers with and without Kerrigan. Would the Phillies add either Fultz or Bacsik in place of Cormier? Doubtful, but not out of the question.