Friday is the day when all major-league teams must finalize their 40-man roster in anticipation of December's Rule 5 draft and the Phillies made some moves, as expected.
Righthander Phillippe Aumont, catcher Sebastian Valle, lefthander Jake Diekman and outfielder Tyson Gillies were all added to the 40-man roster. The Phillies are at 39 with those additions.
Aumont and Valle were no-brainers. Some evaluators in the team's front office believe Aumont has closer potential after being converted back to relief in 2011. Aumont, 22, finished the season in triple A and has an outside shot at a roster spot this spring.
Valle, 21, is the team's top catching prospect and the likely successor to Carlos Ruiz
. He'll play in double-A Reading this season.
Diekman's stock rose this fall. He's a lefthanded reliever, a spot for which the Phillies currently have a need. He made his impression in the Arizona Fall League with a 0.87 ERA in 10 outings. He will turn 25 in January.
Gillies' story is well-documented. Along with Aumont and J.C. Ramirez, he came to the Phillies in the Cliff Lee trade. The Phillies liked his promise and energy but the 23-year-old outfielder has played just 31 games in the last two seasons due to a litany of injuries. He hit .184 in the AFL when finally healthy. All three of the prospects acquired for Lee are now on the 40-man roster.
The most intriguing omission is Jiwan James, an athletic outfielder ranked in the team's top 10 prospects by Baseball America. But James, 22, has yet to play a game above single A. The Phillies apparently decided that Gillies was more of a risk to be taken by a team than James. Again, it's not always about who the Phillies value more, rather how much of a chance a player has of being selected.
With only one free spot on the 40-man roster, some players will have to be removed later in the winter. Figure the most at risk are righthander Scott Mathieson (who is out of options and must make the team out of spring training), John Bowker, Erik Kratz and Harold Garcia (who missed all of 2011 with a torn ACL).
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