A number of things have come into clearer focus since we took our first whack at projecting the Phillies' roster for this year's National League Division Series. First and foremost, the team is now likely to keep 11 pitchers. Secondly, they have eliminated several players from contention. You can read about that here.
Right now, we're projecting that the Phillies have 23 locks for the roster. They are:
Regulars (8): Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Hunter Pence, Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino, Carlos Ruiz
Starters (4): Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt
Relievers (6): Ryan Madson, Antonio Bastardo, Brad Lidge, Mike Stutes, Vance Worley, Kyle Kendrick
Bench (5): Brian Schneider, Ross Gload, John Mayberry Jr., Ben Francisco, Michael Martinez
Of those 23 players, I'd say Martinez and Kendrick are the only ones who have any shot at not being included, but it is a very slim shot, which is why they are still going in this blog post as locks.
So it is six relievers, five bench players with two open spots. Both Manuel and Amaro said today the Phils are likely to keep seven relievers, which brings Joe Blanton and David Herndon into the equation. Justin De Fratus, Joe Savery and Michael Schwimer are out of the discussion, as you can read in the above link. If the playoffs started tomorrow, I think Blanton would get the nod, but both he and Herndon will have at least one and maybe two chances to pitch against the Braves.
So the big question is who fills the final bench spot? I'm putting Martinez on the team because he is a switch hitter who has not battled a hamstring injury, which gives him the edge over Wilson Valdez. Francisco is on the team because Manuel needs a RHB off the bench on days when John Mayberry Jr. starts in left field, which Manuel said today could happen against lefties. Schneider and Gload are both locks.
So who is the final man on the bench? Is it Valdez? Is it left-handed utility man Pete Orr? Or is it John Bowker, who has not produced much since the Phils acquired him from the Pirates. It definitely isn't Domonic Brown or Brandon Moss, neither of whom is being considered by the Phillies.
Valdez would get the edge if the Phillies feel like A) he is healthy and B) they need an extra infielder due to the banged up nature of their regulars. Orr would get the edge if the Phillies feel they need an extra infielder but are willing to sacrifice Valdez's defense for Orr's baserunning ability and left-handedness. Bowker would get the edge if the Phillies feel like they absolutely need some power from the left side of the plate and that Bowker's limited playing time and productions does not preclude him from the ability to get a big power hit at a big time in a big postseason spot.
I don't have a great feel for the direction the Phillies are leaning, but at this point I would project Orr to be the last man on the squad.
So there it is. Projection No. 2 in the books. Blanton and Orr along with the 23 players listed above.
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