In mid-November, I took a guess at who would be on the Phillies roster when the 2009 season started. I did it again in mid-December. Since the post in mid-December:

  • It was announced that JC Romero will be suspended for the first fifty games of the 2009 season.
  • The Phillies signed 2B Marcus Giles to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training.

I still think there are nine guys on the team for opening day, including Pedro Feliz, recovering from back surgery, but not including Chase Ultey who is recovering from hip surgery:


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.

Of the four remaining spots, one has to go to a second catcher behind Ruiz and one has to go to a fourth outfielder. Assuming Utley does not fill Utley’s spot, the third probably has to go someone who can play second base.

On the catcher spot, I still think Paulino is on the team. What I’m feeling a little less sure of as the days pass and the Phillies continue not to sign a right-handed hitter is that Paulino on the team makes it highly unlikely that Coste is not.

One of Geoff Jenkins or Matt Stairs takes the fourth outfielder spot. I still think it’s Jenkins and still think Stairs won’t be with the team when the season starts. Jenkins is far more useful as a defensive player and would be tougher to trade for the Phillies given his contract. I think there’s a chance the Phillies go into the season with four real outfielders on their team, with Bruntlett and maybe Dobbs getting some chances to fill in a little. If you’re going to have four real outfielders on the team I don’t think you have one of them be a 41-year-old Stairs just because I don’t think you can put him out in the field too often.

At second base if Utley’s not ready to go I see the candidates as Giles, Bruntlett, who’s on the team either way, and Jason Donald. The window where the Phillies would bring someone else in with a legitimate chance to compete for the position at this point seems like it’s at least closing. Bruntlett is the least exciting of those prospects. I’m going to guess that Giles proves to be the guy.

Chris Coste and Stairs appear to be the primary candidates to fill out the roster of the players currently on the team. Given how weak the Phillies are from the right side of the plate I see Coste as the winner if it comes down to those two. If Coste is still on the team I don’t think John Mayberry has much of a chance to win the spot. I think there’s a good chance that whoever takes the slot will prove to be the second-best right-handed hitter on the team behind Werth. The need for another right-handed hitter is huge, so my guess is still that the Phillies will bring in a right-handed hitter before the start of the season to be the thirteenth hitter.

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
Chan Ho Park (right)

SP/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.

The battle for the fifth starter appears to include Chan Ho Park, JA Happ and Kyle Kendrick. Park is on the team either way, I think, it’s just a question of whether he’s pitching as part of the rotation or out of the pen.

The loss of Romero leaves the Phils with one lefty in the pen, Scott Eyre, and seems to give Happ’s chances of making the team a huge boost. I think one of the two remaining spots goes to Happ, either in the rotation or out of the pen.

Kendrick isn’t going to make the team to pitch out of the pen. So if Happ or Park does win the fifth starter job, it leaves a spot in the pen that would ideally go to a lefty. I don’t think the Phillies have one that fits the bill, though, so my guess is that it would probably be righties Mike Koplove and Gary Majewski as the front-runners batting for the final spot. Given the current options, though, it looks like the Phillies will go into spring training with an opportunity for a dark horse lefty to make the team as the second left-handed pitcher out of the pen.

There’s still a lot to be decided about how the Phillies pitching will round out, but at this point I’m going to guess it’s Happ (and Park) out of the pen and Kendrick as the fifth starter.

So here’s my overall guess at this point:

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

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

JC Romero will be allowed to participate in the World Baseball Classic.

Interview with Doug Glanville at We Should Be GMs.

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