Your '09 Phillies
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Your '09 Phillies
It is expected to be their last "major" announcement before spring training in February. If you want to know how your 2009 Phillies will look, take a look at today's roster:
Catchers: Chris Coste, Ronny Paulino and Carlos Ruiz.
Infielders: Eric Bruntlett, Greg Dobbs, Pedro Feliz, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley.
Outfielders: Raul Ibanez, Geoff Jenkins, Matt Stairs, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth.
Rotation: Joe Blanton, Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer and Brett Myers. Drew Carpenter, Carlos Carrasco, J.A. Happ, Kyle Kendrick and Chan Ho Park are expected to be candidates for the rotation's fifth spot.
Bullpen: Clay Condrey, Chad Durbin, Scott Eyre, Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, Park and J.C. Romero.
Between today and spring training the Phillies are expected to make Park's signing official. (He is scheduled to take his physical next month.) They also could try to add a righthanded bat to the bench because the Phillies currently have three lefthanded ones: Dobbs, Jenkins and Stairs. If the Phillies added a righthanded bat, they could move Jenkins or Stairs to help make it happen. Other than that, I think the Phillies' off-season business is mostly finished. Of course, something could pop up, but I don't see the Phillies making any major changes right now.
Storylines in spring training -- in terms of roster spots -- should be pretty clear at this point:
Coste and Paulino will compete to be Ruiz's back up. Lou Marson is expected to open the season in triple-A Lehigh Valley, but if he has an awesome spring he could force Charlie Manuel to give him serious consideration. The Florida Marlins have some interest in Coste, which is worth watching. I suppose the Phillies could keep Coste and Paulino, but I'm not sure how that would work. Marson clearly is the franchise's catcher of the future and I'm sure they want him playing every day in Lehigh Valley. I can't imagine the Phillies would have Coste or Paulino play a reserve role in the minors, know what I mean?
Bruntlett and Jason Donald will man the fort at second base until Utley is ready to play.
Several pitchers are going to compete for the fifth's starter's job. A lot of people have been asking if there is a favorite. I think Happ and Kendrick have the early edge because of their experience. I think the Phillies might prefer to see Carrasco gain a little more experience in Lehigh Valley, but if he pitches great in Clearwater he could force the Phillies to make a decision on him. I think Park will get a look at the rotation, but I feel his future is in the bullpen. He is a nice option should one of the regular starters miss a start or two, but I think they want him in the bullpen because he can pitch multiple innings. The Phillies have been trying to give away Adam Eaton this winter, so I don't think he has a chance to make the team. If he is in camp, I think it will be to showcase him for a trade.
If the Phillies add a righthanded bat and don't clear room for him, there could be a battle for a bench spot.
Obviously, there are other things that could develop -- injuries, etc. -- but those seem to be the most obvious at the moment. The bullpen is pretty much set, assuming Park is in the bullpen. If he somehow makes the rotation, that would open up a bullpen job.
"We have as good a chance of repeating a world championship as anybody," Moyer said yesterday. "It's going to be a competitive race. I'm not going out predicting that we are going to win, but we have as good a chance as any other club out there. It's not like we've lost four or five players to free agency and key players and things like that."
"I think that we're pretty good," Manuel said.