What do the latest roster cuts mean for the Opening Day roster?

Lefty Jake Diekman, who struck out nine batters during spring training, was optioned by the Phillies. (Matt Slocum/AP Photo)

In case you have not heard, the Phillies have trimmed three more players from their spring training roster, assigning veteran righthanders Brian Sanches and Scott Elarton to the minors and optioning lefty Jake Diekman. All three pitchers are expected to open up the season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

The cuts bring the total number of players in major league camp down to 37. One of those players is righthander Justin De Fratus, who is certain to the start the season in the minor leagues, assuming he does not start it on the disabled list as he continues to work his way back from a bout with elbow soreness that sunk his spring. 

None of the roster cuts come as a surprise. Sanches and Elarton will be depth guys at Lehigh Valley, while Diekman could end up being this year's Mike Stutes. He struck out nine and walked one while allowing just one unearned run in five innings, putting himself in position for a potential call-up should the Phillies suffer an injury in the back end of their bullpen, particularly if that injury afflicts Antonio Bastardo. 

First, the players still in camp:


  1. SS Jimmy Rollins
  2. 3B Placido Polanco
  3. CF Shane Victorino
  4. RF Hunter Pence
  5. LF John Mayberry Jr.
  6. 1B Ty Wigginton
  7. C Carlos Ruiz
  8. 2B Freddy Galvis
Starters (5)
  1. RHP Roy Halladay
  2. LHP Cliff Lee
  3. LHP Cole Hamels
  4. RHP Vance Worley
  5. RHP Joe Blanton
Bench (3)
  1. 1B/LHB Jim Thome
  2. C/LHB Brian Schneider
  3. LF/1B/LHB Laynce Nix
Bullpen (6)
  1. RHP Jonathan Papelbon
  2. LHP Antonio Bastado
  3. RHP Jose Contreras
  4. RHP Chad Qualls
  5. RHP Kyle Kendrick
  6. RHP Mike Stutes
Bench Contenders (5)
  1. OF/LHB Scott Podsednik
  2. OF/LHB Juan Pierre
  3. OF/RHB Lou Montanez
  4. 2B/3B/LHB Pete Orr
  5. 1B/3B/RHB Hector Luna
Bullpen Contenders (3)
  1. LHP Joe Savery
  2. LHP Raul Valdes
  3. RHP David Herndon
Back-up Catchers (3)
  1. C/LHB Erik Kratz
  2. C/RHP Tuffy Gosewisch
  3. C Tim Kennelly 
Injured Players (4)
  1. 2B Chase Utley
  2. 1B Ryan Howard
  3. UTIL Michael Martinez
  4. RHP Justin De Fratus
As you can see, things are pretty much set. One question that we really haven't addressed concerns one of the last spots in the bullpen. I have been including Mike Stutes on the roster without much debate throughout the spring. But David Herndon is quietly having a solid spring, while Stutes has allowed some runs. It is tough to argue with Stutes' 10 strikeouts and two walks in nine innings, but I figured I'd mention the situation. 
Among the questions left to answer: Who will be the team's utility man? Will the team add a right-handed bat that can play second base or outfield? Will the team keep six bench players or seven relievers? And who will fill out those spots? 
Stay tuned.