While a surprise cut began the process, the finalized 25 Philadelphia Phillies will include Cliff Lee in Texas. However, baring injury, the last pruned warrior will drop near mid-April.
Please, scroll down for this edition of Nitecap Insight: The 25th Man.
This article represents the thinking of a baseball man in my opinion. Reading people is the answer to their decisions: past, present and future.
There will be a published storyline each week.
The 25th Man:
In baseball’s third century, the familiar diamond is the glue for the old and the new.
Freddy Galvis, Kevin Frandsen and Cesar Hernandez are competing for two jobs, while Darin Ruf, John Mayberry Jr. and Bobby Abreu battle over two outfield spots. Originally, the temporary rotation slot was between Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and Jonathan Pettibone. Meanwhile, the relief corps without Mike Adams is Jonathan Papelbon, Antonio Bastardo, Brad Lincoln, Jake Diekman and BJ Rosenberg. For the remaining two seats, Justin De Fratus, Phillippe Aumont, Jeremy Horst and Kevin Munson are in the mix.
Today’s general managers have fluid rosters due mostly to health concerns. Cole Hamels, Ethan Martin and Adams will earn their paychecks sometime in April. In other words, depending on Adams and Hamels, two openings are briefly available.
Beginning with the infield, Galvis has established defensive credentials, and Frandsen has proven his capability with both bat and glove. Last year, Hernandez had a solid average, didn’t work walks, and was a hesitant base thief. While all three are struggling so far, Hernandez would be the expendable one.
Mayberry and Ruf are fighting hard to make the squad; however, Abreu has done little with the lumber. In a perfect world, the Phils would prefer a left-side stick with pop, who could handle center field. That stated, Marlon Byrd can back up Ben Revere, and Abreu can supply the bench power.
Cody Asche has not faced a March challenge from Maikel Franco, but number 25 will be vulnerable if his struggles continue. For even that consideration, however, the right-side threat would have to hit .400 and some homers.
Non-Roster Pitching Invitees:
[table id=574 /]
The Other Side of the Ball:
For two pen roles, De Fratus and Munson (Rule 5 draft) have looked decent so far. On the other mound, Aumont had reported a major mechanical change, and Horst had a solid 2012. To date, both have been inconsistent. Also, even being sound, Martin may require some relief appearances at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
When you consider the setbacks to Hamels and Pettibone, immediate concerns arise for another starter. Gonzalez, however, remains a logical candidate for minor league refinement. Meanwhile, the current speculation involves Jeff Manship, Sean O’Sullivan and David Buchanan.
According to Matt Gelb of Philly.com, the red pinstripes were the only franchise interested in Manship, who has recorded a 6.42 ERA for 116 1/3 frames as a reliever and starter. Presently, the three non-roster invitees offer only an early, small sample, but their careers present a clearer picture. Since 2008, Manship has missed on all five MLB opportunities, while Buchanan has had mostly initial success at Double-A and Triple-A. O’Sullivan, on the other hand, has more appealing numbers.
Projected Opening Day Roster:
[table id=573 /]
The early schedule is perfect for a four-man staff until April 13, and it requires no special arrangement whatsoever. In other words, the organization can carry one extra player for the first 12 games. Hernandez, Abreu, Munson, Aumont or Horst could win the consolation prize.
Munson is a possibility due to his Rule 5 status, and Abreu could be the DH against Yu Darvish on Opening Day. But with hurlers limited to 100 bullets in their early outings, Ruben Amaro Jr. could carry an extra bullpen arm.
If Gonzalez is viable after three turns at Lehigh Valley, he could make three appearances during April’s second half. Or Pettibone might be ready before Hamels, including some innings at Lehigh Valley.
The analysis here is Abreu will join Ruf and Mayberry in a continued two-job hunt, while Munson will hold a pen role early on.
Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez: Scouting Report
Traded Prospects: 2 = Cleveland & Toronto 3 = Houston
BJ Rosenberg & Jake Diekman:
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