This is it people. The Phillies will have to have a set roster by Opening Day and I might as well give an opinion of what their roster will look like. There are about 20 locks in my opinion with some uncertainties including spots in the 5th starter, spots in the bull pen, and the bench. I will start with the starting eight, the five starting pitchers, the bench, and then bull pen.
Infield/Outfield: The starting infield is a lock. Ryan Howard at first, Chase Utley at second, Jimmy Rollins at short stop, and Pedro Feliz at third will make up the infield, the same make-up as last year. Utley and Feliz are both going to be available for opening day after missing most of Spring Training with injuries after major surgeries. Howard is the team’s big bat. He has been lighting it up all spring training, giving Phillies fans something to look forward to . He has been the victim of early season slumps the past 2 years and is looking to break that trend.
Utley is their most complete player. He can do it all: hit, field, run, and throw. He is the ultimate player and the best second basemen in the league. Rollins is one of the league’s elite base stealers and shortstops. Feliz is the best fielding third basemen in the league. He has come up with clutch hits in the past and the Phillies hope that continues into this season. Carlos Ruiz will be the starting catcher next year.
In the outfield, the starters will be newly signed Raul Ibanez in left field, Shane Victorino in center, and Jayson Werth in right. Ibanez was signed after they let Pat Burrell go to Tampa Bay. He has a very good bat but he’s a lefty, something the Phillies have too many of. He is also an even worse fielder than Burrell so we will see guys coming in in the late innings to spell him. Victorino is the team’s new spark plug. He is one of the best fielding outfielders in the league and has an extremely strong arm. Base runners must beware when trying to stretch their hits to extra bases. Werth has emerged as a starter half way through last season and will start in right this year. He too has a great glove and can play left if the Phillies bring in someone off the bench to play right.
Starting Pitching: The first four are a lock. Cole Hamels is the team’s ace as one of the best pitchers in the National League. He may not pitch opening day though if his sore left elbow isn’t better by then. His supporting cast starts with Brett Myers. Myers is sort of a headcase who will either pitch amazing or awful. He feeds off of any kind of momentum and the fans know that. He thrives when the fans are standing and cheering him on. The third man in the rotation will be Jamie Moyer, the 46 year-old lefty, is back again. He is their, “Old Faithful” and can bore young hitters into swinging at anything like divsion rival Florida Marlins and playoff opponents Milwaukee Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays.
The fourth guy in the rotations is Joe Blanton who was acquired from Oakland during last season. He pitched really well in the latter half of the season and playoffs. He even his a home run in the World Series. The fifth spot is where there is a lot of speculation. It’s going to be between Chan Ho Park, Kyle Kendrick (was in last year’s rotation), and J.A. Happ. The way it looks, Park should be the 5th guy. He’s not a terrible pitcher and has pitched well in Spring Training. He edges out Happ who will most likely be re-assigned to AAA ball in Lehigh Valley. Kendrick is just terrible in my opinion.
The Bench: Greg Dobbs was the Phillies best PH and can play first and third. Eric Bruntlett was their ultimate utility guy who can play both the infield and outfeild. Geoff Jenkins is their best OF off the bench and will likely take the role of spell guy for Ibanez. Now there are six guys I have had my eyes on to take up the last three bench spots. The first bench spot is back up catcher. That will go to Ronny Paulino. He’s young and will play in the majors until Lou Marson is ready to step up to the bigs. Marson has a lot of potential and can eventually overtake Ruiz and Paulino. Jason Donald was phenominal in Spring Training but he will be wasted talent on the bench. He’ll be playing AAA ball to start the season.
The other infielders include Pablo Ozuna and Chris Coste. Coste will likely not make the team since he was hurt all spring training and will be good trade bait for teams in need of an experienced catcher. He can also play the field. Ozuna is a utility player who signed in the off season. In the outfield, the other two guys are Matt Stairs and John Mayberry Jr. Stairs is the older, fan-favorite while Mayberry shows a lot of promise but is still very immature. I expect Stairs to win it due to his experience but don’t be surprised when Mayberry gets a call up in June along with Donald.
Bull Pen: Brad Lidge is the closer, nothing more to say. His set up man will also be Ryan Madson, another definite lock. Fellow locks will be lefty Scott Eyre, and righties Clay Condrey and Chad Durbin. Filling in that last spot will be Gary Majewski, the young righty who signed with the Phillies in the offseason. He’s just filling in until JC Romero is back from his 50-day suspension for using banned substances.
Here is my 25-man roster for this upcoming season.
-Madson (set up)
Expect Donald and Mayberry Jr. up this year. They are both very good and very young and will be future stars for this franchise.