Saturday, February 6, 2016

Adding Castillo leaves door open for 11 pitchers

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Attempt to follow my logic here:

Adding Castillo leaves door open for 11 pitchers

Luis Castillo signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies on Sunday. (Jeff Roberson/AP)
Luis Castillo signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies on Sunday. (Jeff Roberson/AP)

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Attempt to follow my logic here:

-- The Phillies have brought Luis Castillo in for what equates to a 10-day, no-cost trial. My thinking is so long as he doesn't completely bomb, he's on the team.

"He'll either make our team or be released," Ruben Amaro Jr. said.

Meaning the Phillies should have a decent idea right away if Castillo has any value.

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-- The Phillies like Michael Martinez. He is a Rule 5 player and must be offered back to Washington if he does not make the team. Could the Phillies and Nationals work out a deal so the Phillies can retain his rights even when sending him to the minors? Sure. But I doubt Washington would be eager to work something out with a division rival that shows so much interest in one of their players.

-- Josh Barfield and Pete Orr both should accept minor-league assignments. Barfield's out clause isn't until after June 1. Orr, from what I've gathered, does not have one. He also has an option remaining, which offers a great deal of flexibility.

-- Delwyn Young and John Mayberry Jr. are the backup outfielders. Young is a switch hitter and a decent pinch hitter. Mayberry provides some righthanded pop off the bench.

-- Ross Gload and Brian Schneider are locks, of course. So is Wilson Valdez, who I think will still be starting at second on April 1.

-- Those candidates for the 12th pitching spot all have options left: Antonio Bastardo, David Herndon, Scott Mathieson and Mike Zagurski. Each one has pitched decently this spring, but as we've discussed before, the value of a 12th pitcher isn't high on this staff.

So what am I getting at? It wouldn't shock me if the Phillies now break camp with 11 pitchers and six bench players (Gload, Schneider, Mayberry, Young, Castillo, Martinez).

There is no way the Phillies go the entire season carrying just 11 pitchers, but in the beginning it can work. Especially if means keeping Martinez around for a longer look. If after a few weeks they decide Castillo or Martinez provides no value, then they can be swapped for a pitcher.

What this scenario offers, at least, is a longer look at everyone. And with the uncertainty of Chase Utley's knee, the last thing the Phillies want to do is be forced to cut ties with someone who could help later.

Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.

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