In mid-November I took a guess at who would be on the Phillies roster when the 2009 season started. A lot of things have happened since then, including:

  • Chase Utley had surgery on his right hip and will likely miss the start of the season. It’s unclear when he will be back at second base or who will be playing the position till he returns. We’re pretty sure it won’t be Nick Punto or Tad Iguchi. Probably won’t be Mark DeRosa, either.
  • Greg Golson, who had a slim chance to make the team to start the season, was traded for right-handed outfielder John Mayberry, who has a slimmer chance to make the team to start the season.
  • The Phillies signed veteran right-handed reliever Mike Koplove.
  • Jason Jaramillo was traded for right-handed catcher Ronny Paulino
  • Raul Ibanez was signed to a three-year contract and will presumably see the bulk of the time in left field.
  • Right-handed pitcher Robert Mosebach was acquired in the Rule 5 draft.
  • The Phils signed right-handed pitcher Chan Ho Park to a one-year contract.
  • They also signed Jamie Moyer to a two-year contract.

I think there are nine hitters you have to assume are on the team at this point.


Player

Position
1
Ryan Howard

1B
2
2B
3
Jimmy Rollins

SS
4
Pedro Feliz

3B
5
Shane Victorino

OF
6
Jayson Werth

OF
7
Raul Ibanez

OF
8
OF
9
Carlos Ruiz
C
10 C
11
Eric Bruntlett

UT
12
Greg Dobbs

3B/OF
13
UT
14

Utley is obviously on the team as well, but will probably start the season on the DL. That leaves four spots for position players, assuming the Phils carry 13 hitters and 12 pitchers to start the year.

First spot is second catcher along with Ruiz. I think Paulino is a far better bet to take that spot than Coste. It now seems clear the Marson will start the year in the minors.

The Phillies definitely need to give one of the other three spots to an outfielder, almost surely Geoff Jenkins or Matt Stairs, to fill out an outfield that will feature Victorino in center, Werth in right and Ibanez in left. I still don’t believe the Phillies can carry all three of Jenkins, Stairs and Dobbs — that seems especially true now that the left-handed bat of Ibanez looks like it will be a fixture in the lineup till we’ve been saying “Yeah he can hit but he really needs to go to the AL where he can DH” about him for about a year and a half. I still guess the fourth outfielder spot goes to Jenkins.

That leaves two — the 2B spot that is open with Utley on the DL and another spot on the bench. At least one of those spaces needs to go to a right-handed hitter, and the options in the organization right now are not exciting. I would have to guess that Coste, Mike Cevernak and Mayberry would be the lead candidates. Matt Stairs is not right-handed, but you’d have to think he’d get some consideration anyway given the possibilities. I think Coste would get the spot if it came down to those four — more likely, though, it seems that the Phillies will add a veteran right-handed bat before the season starts.

And then there’s the Utley second base spot. Jason Donald, Brad Harman, veteran not on the team or letting Bruntlett handle the job while Utley was out look like the four main candidates there. Harman hit 210/280/366 at Double-A last year, so I don’t think he’s going to be an attractive option. Donald comes off a monster year in the minors and the AFL, but I would guess the Phils let him play in the minors again in 2009. I don’t think Bruntlett can hit right-handed pitching well enough to play regularly at second base, but I think the big question for the Phillies will be how much time Utley is going to miss. If the Phillies believe Utley is going to miss a small number of games, Bruntlett would almost surely get the call. Ideally for the Phils the right-handed hitter they bring in to fill the bench slot above could play second. Without much information about how long Utley is going to be out, I’ll still go with yet another right-handed veteran in this slot to fill out the hitting roster. It would mean the Phils would be in a bind when Utley returned — Utley plus two right-handed veteran bats gives them 14 hitters, which they probably won’t carry. You can see why DeRosa was so attractive to the Phillies as he fills the need for the big right-handed bat and the guy who can play second base. There aren’t a lot of guys like that out there.

Ten of the Phillies pitching spots are likely to be filled by these guys:


Player

Position
1
Cole Hamels (left)

SP
2
Brett Myers (right)

SP
3
Joe Blanton (right)

SP
4
Jamie Moyer (left)

SP
5
SP
6
Ryan Madson (right)
 RP
7
JC Romero (left)

RP
8
Clay Condrey (right)

RP
9
Scott Eyre (left)

RP
10
Chad Durbin (right)

RP
11  
RP
12
Brad Lidge (right)

CLOSER

Assuming the Phils carry 12 pitchers, that leaves two.

With the signing of Moyer yesterday, the Phillies have one spot left in the rotation. Chan Ho Park’s early quotes seem to suggest he’ll be in the mix to win the job. He would presumably be competing with a group that included JA Happ and Kyle Kendrick as the front-runners for fifth starter. I don’t think Carlos Carrasco or Adam Eaton are realistic candidates. Kendrick and Happ may have to outpitch Park in spring training to win the job as fifth starter, but that might not be that hard for them to do. I’m still guessing Kendrick, but I think it’s very close between those three for the fifth starter job.

Park’s likely on the team whether he’s in the rotation or not — I think it’s just a question of whether he’s a starter or the veteran righty in the bullpen. The last bullpen spot needs to go to a righty. I think it will be Park, but if it’s not it may be Koplove battling all the right-handed relievers in the world that currently aren’t on the Phillies to make the team.

Hitters (13): Howard, Rollins, Feliz, Ibanez, Victorino, Werth, Ruiz, Bruntlett, Dobbs, Paulino, Jenkins and two right-handed hitters currently not with the team.

Pitchers (12): Hamels, Myers, Blanton, Moyer, Kendrick, Madson, Romero, Condrey, Eyre, Durbin, Park, Lidge.

This suggests Utley could be ready for opening day.

The Phillies signed Jamie Moyer to a two-year deal worth $13 million. Chan Ho Park was also signed to a one-year deal. Glad to see Moyer back — I think the Phillies won that one as I was expecting Moyer to get more than $13 million. But . . . this says that Moyer will make $20 million over the two years if he throws at least 190 innings and makes 31 starts in each season. Moyer has thrown at least 190 innings and made at least 31 starts in each of the last eight seasons.

The Phillies needed a right-handed pitcher and they got one, but I think Chan Ho Park’s numbers in a Phillie uniform might be ugly in 2009.

I am tracking my guess as to who will be part of the 2009 Phillies here.