First, for the cuts: Keith Bucktrot, Zack Segovia, Francisco Butto, Juan Richardson, John Castellano, Chris Roberson, Jorge Padilla and Tim Gradoville were all cut after Monday's win over Toronto. No real surprises there, since all were figured to start the season in the minors. Plus, minor league games are starting and those players will get a chance to play on a more regular basis at that level.
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|
|11||C||Todd Pratt / A.J. Hinch|
|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, although he insists that's not going to happen, even if he has to pull a Terrell Owens and disobey doctor's orders. If he does wind up on the DL though, 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. The Phillies have been impressed with veteran minor leaguer Chris Coste as well and they're giving him a nice look. They're also giving two other veteran infielders, Danny Sandoval and Anthony Medrano good looks, although neither figures to be in the final hunt for ajob. Bell's possible DL stint wouldn't help either Victorino or Byrd.
The battle between Shane Victorino and Marlon Byrd started off to be a great one. Both came in to camp looking to win spots, but Byrd has been almost unstoppable. He collected three more hits in the Phillies win over Toronto on Monday, upping his spring average to .417. Byrd came into town stating that he was in Clearwater not just to win a spot on the roster, but to win back his old center field job. You have to think that with Charlie Manuel's eyes having been opened by Byrd, the center field platoon could become Kenny Lofton and Marlon Byrd if Byrd stays hot.
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. The Phillies love his speed and his defense has been stellar, but Byrd is simply leaving him in no man's land with his bat. Don't be surprised if the Phillies try to work out a deal with Los Angeles that would allow them to send Victorino to AAA Scranton rather than returning him to L.A.
Would the Phillies keep Geoff Geary over Terry Adams? It's possible, but Adams has been coming on strong after a shaky start. The Phillies like Geary, but he could be optioned to Scranton to make room for someone else if needed. One thing that the Phillies don't like about Geary is that they don't have a lot of confidence in him to come in with runners on base. He is more of a start-the-inning kind of guy. There is another battle brewing in the bullpen though. Did you notice that the Phillies had Ryan Madson throw 2.1 innings on Monday (3/14) and they were actually trying to stretch him out to three innings. What's up with that? We'll tell you. The Phillies haven't given up on the possibility of having Madson return to his old job as a starter. He could slide into Vicente Padilla's spot to start the season and Gavin Floyd could start the year at AAA. It's an idea, since the Phillies really don't want to have Floyd in the majors and since they may be able to fill in bullpen spots with little problem. They are also considering having Madson start the season in the same spot that he did last season; long relief. Can you say "trouble" for Amaury Telemaco? If Madson takes over Telemaco's long relief role, that opens up a spot for Aaron Fultz to be the situational lefty, with Rheal Cormier working more as a left-handed setup man. Keep an eye on who is getting what innings as we move deeper into the spring.
Speaking of Aaron Fultz, the Phillies are enamored. Fultz has done everything the Phillies have asked of him this spring and odds are that barring something unforeseen, Fultz should break camp with a major league uniform on his back.