Monday, January 29, 2007

Spring Training Battles

A while back we took stock of what the Phillies currently have on their roster; today we take a look at which players out there could fill the few remaining needs (OF, bullpen). Publicly, the Phillies say that they are confident going into spring training with six starting pitchers; if they do keep six starters, then the number of relief jobs up for grabs is reduced from two to one. The Phils are also making it clear that Antonio Alfonseca is guaranteed nothing – they claim that a strong spring is a prerequisite for membership on the ’07 staff. I’d be utterly shocked if “El Pulpo” isn’t on the 25-man roster come April. This leaves the Phils with $92.625 million committed to 23 players and two spots up for grabs – reserve outfielder and bullpen arm.

Outfield Candidates

Chris Roberson, Michael Bourn, Karim Garcia, and Greg Dobbs have to be considered the favorites to land the coveted job of fifth outfielder at this point. The thought of a Burrell/Rowand/Victorino everyday outfield still freaks me out quite a bit, so I’d love to see the team find a way to bring in another outfield bat, but we'll see.

Bullpen Candidates

Eude Brito, Fabio Castro, Jim Ed Warden, Alfredo Simon or Anderson Garcia (his name was just officially added to the 40-man roster this past week) all are in line to win jobs as middle relievers entering 2007; I believe the Phillies have given enough of an indication publicly that one of the two Rule 5 guys (Warden or Simon) will make the team out of camp. I think they keep Simon with the big club because they know there is no way they can send him to AAA without Texas wanting to reclaim him. Jim Ed Warden, the pitcher who is most ready to win a job, is the sort of undervalued commodity that could be sent back to the Phillies if they do decide to try and send him down. Cleveland is a pretty sharp organization, so it wouldn’t be too big a shock to see them accept Warden back with open arms. Then again…the Phillies may try to work something out with the Indians so that they can keep him – just a hunch, but it’s been what I’ve been hearing...

Longer shots at this point appear to be Joe Bisenius (only 23.1 innings above A+), Kane Davis, Justin Germano (could be sixth starter in-waiting at AAA Ottawa if/when Jon Lieber is dealt), Brian Sanches (long a personal favorite of mine), and Zack Segovia. An even longer shot to make the team is soon-to-be 27-year old righthander Yoel Hernandez – a darkhorse candidate if there ever was one considering he is coming off an injury shortened season that only had him pitch in 10.1 innings in all of ’06. All in all, I think the battle for the last job in the bullpen will be lots of fun – I give Pat Gillick a lot of grief for all of the bad moves he makes (luckily for PG, his terrible signing of Rod Barajas and his recent crappy add of Antonio Alfonseca occurred during my mini-vacation, so I let him off the hook there), but he has assembled a collection of pretty interesting arms and, assuming he allows them to duke it out in spring training, has done a fine job of putting his club in the best position to add cheap, useful bullpen help.


Blogger GM-Carson said...

As much as I dislike Chris Roberson, he would be my choice for 5th outfielder because he's solid defensively at all 3 OF positions and has tremendous speed, which lends well for pinch-running.

I hope Jim Ed Warden has a good spring because I could see him developing into a nice bullpen piece.

6:29 AM  
Anonymous malphie said...

This has nothing to do with anything, but did you know Jim Eisenreich's number one comparable according to baseballreference is none other than Tom Paciorek!! Whose contract, by the way, was not renewed by the Nats for '07, praise Allah.

12:39 PM  

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