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March 15 2007

Going into spring training I thought there were ten pitchers on the Phillies likely to make the team barring a trade.  Here's who they are and what they've done in spring training:

 

Player
1 Jon Lieber 6 ip, 1.50 ERA
2 Freddy Garcia 3 ip, 9.00 ERA
3 Brett Myers 5 2/3 ip, 6.35 ERA
4 Jamie Moyer 10 ip, 3.60 ERA
5 Cole Hamels 5 ip, 7.20 ERA
6 Adam Eaton 6 2/3 ip, 4.05 ERA
7 Tom Gordon 2 G, 2 ip, 0.00 ERA, 2 H, 2 K, 0 BB
8 Geoff Geary 6 1/3 ip, 4.26 ERA, 10 H, 2 BB
9 Matt Smith 4 1/3 ip, 16.62 ERA, 9 H, 5 BB
10 Ryan Madson 3 ip, 6.00 ERA, 2 H, 0 BB, 5 K
11
12

Again, barring a trade I think all ten still have a job.  Matt Smith's numbers are awful but he's also had some nice moments despite the 16.62 ERA.  While he's not as good as he pitched last year, he's nowhere near as bad as his numbers this spring training.  Given the
dearth of lefty options I think he's still in.  Geary is still giving up a ton of hits.  Despite whatever is going on with his health, Gordon has pitched well in his limited appearances.  Madson's numbers other than his ERA are good.

Overall, I don't think there's anything to worry about with the starters.  There's a lot to worry about with the pen but it's all the same stuff everyone was worried about before spring training started.

If the Phillies go with 12 pitchers and keep those ten guys it leaves them with two spots available.  Barring a trade those two seem likely to come from this group:

 

Antonio Alfonseca 2 ip, 0.00 ERA, 2 H, 0 BB
Fabio Castro 6 1/3 ip, 7.11 ERA, 8 H, 4 BB
Clay Condrey 5 1/3 ip, 8.44 ERA, 8 H, 2 BB
Brian Sanches 7 ip, 6.43 ERA, 9 H, 4 BB
Jim Ed Warden 3 1/3 ip, 10.80 ERA, 4 H, 4 BB
Alfredo Simon 4 1/3 ip, 12.46 ERA, 10 H, 2 BB
Joe Bisenius 4 1/3 ip, 0.00 ERA, 1 H, 0 BB, 6 K
Kane Davis 2 2/3 ip, 0.00 ERA, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K in just two appearances
Eude Brito Slowed due to a car accident and is yet to appear in a game
Anderson Garcia 4 ip, 9.00 ERA, 7 H, 3 BB
Zack Segovia 5 ip, 3.60 ERA, 7 H, 0 BB

If Alfonseca is a we-really-do-have-relief-pitchers-you've-heard-of-and-we're-not-afraid-to-go-into-the-season-without-trading-a-starter bluff it's a good one.  If you assume he gets one of the two remaining spots that leaves one.

I think Anderson Garcia, Alfredo Simon, Eude Brito and Zack Segovia combine to have close to no chance to make the team.  Jim Ed Warden may be close to that category at this point as well.  Joe Bisenius is probably still a long shot, but he's hard to ignore given that he's
pitched better than anyone else in the group at this point.  Kane Davis has also been good, but if he really has any chance to make the team we'll surely be seeing him pitch a lot more soon.  You would have thought that Sanches and Condrey both were in the mix coming
into camp given their tremendous numbers at Triple-A last season, but neither has been particularly impressive.  I don't think you can discount either of them yet based on the limited innings they've thrown this spring.

Part of the issue with the pen as currently constructed is the problem with lefties.  Smith would be the sole southpaw, and given his lack of experience you would think a left-handed pitcher would have a considerable advantage in the battle for the last spot.  Eude Brito's car accident may have cost him a legitimate shot to start the year with the team.  Fabio Castro fits the bill, and although his numbers are not strong so far I would still give him the edge.  My guess is that if the Phillies had to start the season today they would go with Alfonseca and Castro in two remaining pitching slots.  Two of the six starters, Moyer and Hamels, are left-handed.  There's no way Moyer is going to the pen.  If one of the six starters has to go to the pen, I would seriously consider Hamels given the lack of left-handed relievers in combination with the huge increase in his innings last season and injury risk this year.  That would not be a decision likely to resonate with Phillies fans, probably including you.

There's not much chance that anybody's going to turn this situation into an after-school special or anything.  It's just ugly.  The Phillies, to their credit, show no sign of panic.  I'd actually feel a little more comfortable if they showed just a tiny bit of panic, cause I'm having trouble seeing how you could interpret the circumstances as dictating anything else.  They are either going to make a trade or seem sure to go into the season with a pen that is virtually guaranteed not to be consistently successful.  There is obviously a cost to making a bad trade -- that needs to be weighed carefully against just how bad the pen is as well as the need to try to jump out early, especially against the Mets who, if they are ever going to struggle this season, may struggle early given their rotation woes.

Some in the Phillies front office are calling 19-year-old prospect Adrian Cardenas a Chase Utley clone.  More Cardenas here.

Digger Phelps is Jamie Moyer's father-in-law.

Rowand gave an unusual answer on Chicago morning radio when asked if Ken Williams ever told him he planned to bring him back to the White Sox.

The Phillies play the Blue Jays tonight.

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