Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Roster prediction (Version 1.0)

CLEARWATER, Fla. — We are nine days into Grapefruit League play, meaning some judgments can be rendered. They may not be accurate judgments, but they are judgments. That's about the only way to bide time until meaningful baseball in April.

Roster prediction (Version 1.0)

Scott Podsednik has looked good this spring, but the Phillies could opt to go with Juan Pierre instead. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Scott Podsednik has looked good this spring, but the Phillies could opt to go with Juan Pierre instead. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

CLEARWATER, Fla. — We are nine days into Grapefruit League play, meaning some judgments can be rendered. They may not be accurate judgments, but they are judgments. That's about the only way to bide time until meaningful baseball in April.

So with the Phillies headed to Bradenton for a matinee against Pittsburgh, we present our first prediction of the opening day roster. We'll do this every Monday until April.

CATCHERS (2)
Carlos Ruiz
Brian Schneider

Ruiz has been doing a lot of sitting on the bench. Not a bad idea early in the spring.

Is Jim Thome a good alternative at first base until Ryan Howard returns from his Achilles tendon injury?
Yes. Thome can still get the job in the field and at bat as long as he gets a break now and then.
No. He’s too old to be a regular.
The best plan would be to platoon him with one or two other first basemen.

INFIELDERS (6)
Ty Wigginton
Chase Utley
Placido Polanco
Jimmy Rollins
Jim Thome
Michael Martinez

Martinez plays shortstop better than any of the other utility candidates. The Phillies want defense from their utility spot, so he is the guy. If there is a prolonged absence by any infielder, Freddy Galvis would be the replacement.

OUTFIELDERS (5)
John Mayberry Jr.
Shane Victorino
Hunter Pence
Laynce Nix
Juan Pierre

Scott Podsednik has been more impressive than Pierre in Grapefruit League action, but Podsednik's out clause isn't until June 1. Pierre can leave if he's not on the roster March 31. Thus, Pierre earns the nod while Podsednik waits in triple A. It allows the Phillies to make an evaluation over a longer period of time. That can change, especially if Peirre has more days like Sunday, which drew the ire of Charlie Manuel.

STARTERS (5)
Roy Halladay
Cliff Lee
Cole Hamels
Vance Worley
Joe Blanton

Yes, the Phillies want to trade Blanton, but the right deal would require the trading team to take on a lot of money. We don't see that happening until Blanton demonstrates value in regular-season games. His early spring outings have been nothing but encouraging, though.

RELIEVERS (7)
Jonathan Papelbon
Antonio Bastardo
Chad Qualls
Mike Stutes
Kyle Kendrick
David Herndon
Phillippe Aumont

Really struggled with the final name on this list. No one has distinguished themselves in the first few weeks of games. The Phillies could go with 11 pitchers, but there really isn't a 14th position player who has dazzled either. The guess here is the team carries 12 pitchers most of the season because when Jose Contreras returns, they will be conservative with his workload. Aumont has the highest ceiling and has not done anything to hurt his chances this spring. He's the choice for now, but this is a fluid situation.

DISABLED LIST (2)
Ryan Howard
Jose Contreras

The Phillies think Contreras can be ready for opening day. But why push it?

LAST FOUR OUT
Scott Podsednik
Kevin Frandsen
Brian Sanches
Jake Diekman

Check back next Monday for the latest predictions.


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

Matt Gelb Inquirer Staff Writer
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The place for up-to-the-minute Phillies coverage from The Inquirer beat writer Matt Gelb and columnist Bob Brookover.

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