We're roughly halfway through spring training. Nineteen games remain before the season opener at Citizen's Bank Park against the Nationals on March 31.
In the paper today, we analyze the first half of spring training. Here's a projected 25-man roster as of right now. Guys in bold are locks to make the team. Guys in italics are projected.
At the bottom, we'll break down our six projections, along with other competitors for thsose open spots.
Cole Hamels, LHP
Brett Myers, RHP
Jamie Moyer, LHP
Kyle Kendrick RHP
Adam Eaton RHP
Ryan Madson RHP
Tom Gordon RHP
Brad Lidge RHP
JC Romero LHP
Chad Durbin RHP1
Clay Condrey RHP2
Francisco Rosario, RHP3
Kris Benson (DL)4
1. Chad Durbin - The right-hander looks like a pretty good bet to make this team, whether it is as a reliever or a starter. The fact that he has done both gives him a lot of flexibility. If Adam Eaton is unavailable, or unable, to start the season in the rotation, the smart money is on Durbin, who started 19 games for the Tigers last season. One possible scenario: Durbin begins the year as a starter, makes four or five starts, then slides back to the bullpen when Kris Benson is ready in late April or mid May. Another: Eaton begins the year as the fifth starter, with Durbin working as a bullpen guy who can pitch two-plus innings. If Eaton falters again, Durbin is available to replace him.
2-3. Clay Condrey and Francisco Rosario - It's hard to figure where the Phillies are going to go with their two open bullpen spots. Both Condrey and Rosario spent all last season with the team. Rosario, meanwhile, has had a stellar start to the spring, allowing one earned run in 8 2/3 innings and striking out 8. At the moment, I'd guess these two have spots. But the Phillies have just one lefty in the bullpen right now, and both Rosario and Condrey are righties. Rule 5 draftee Travis Blackley could get a look as a reliever. He's a lefty, and he pitched well in his first two appearances of the spring before getting rocked against Cleveland Saturday.
4. Kris Benson - At this point, he looks like he'll be added to the 40-man roster sometime before March 25, then begin the season on the disabled list while he finishes off his comeback from shoulder surgery. He is still holding out hope for opening day, but most in the Phillies organization see him as a factor closer to late-April. Assuming he regains 1 or 2 more MPH on his velocity and suffers no setbacks, it looks like he'll have an opportunity to earn a permament spot in the rotation.
5. Greg Dobbs - Dobbs is a virtual lock to make the team. Only thing that prompts us to put him in italics is the log jam at third base. Wes Helms, who hit .246 last season, is still on the roster. A likely scenario has the Phillies dealing him prior to opening day. Only way they can keep Helms, Dobbs and a utility infielder is if they keep only 11 pitchers. And they need all the pitching help they can get.
6. Eric Bruntlett - Like Dobbs, Bruntlett appears a lock to make the team. The only thing that might endanger his spot is if the Phillies fall in love with Ray Olmedo, a slick-fielding infielder whom they signed off of waivers from Pittsburgh early in spring training. That likely won't happen. Bruntlett has hit well this spring, and has the ability to play just about every defensive position aside from pitcher and catcher.