Unfortunately for the Phillies, one part of the roster became a lot clearer this week. On Thursday we learned that Hamels would not throw for at least a week and is now likely to miss most of April if not longer. That leaves a gaping hole at the back of the rotation and it will likely be filled by someone who isn't currently on the 40 man roster. As I have mentioned earlier, they will not need a 5th starter during the first 2 weeks of the season, but its almost a guarantee that the likes of Manship, Buchanan or O'Sullivan will make a start for the Phillies in April.
Starting Lineup: Revere, Rollins, Utley, Howard, Byrd, Brown, Ruiz, Asche
Bench: Nieves, Frandsen, Galvis, Ruf, Abreu, Mayberry
Starting Rotation: Lee, Burnett, Kendrick, Hernandez,
Bullpen: Papelbon, Bastardo, Diekman, De Fratus, Rosenberg, Lincoln, Horst
Disabled List: Hamels, Adams, Pettibone, Martin
Who's the 5th starter?
David Buchanan: Right now, I think Buchanan is the favorite as I think they would prefer to go with a home grown option. The big righty has gotten comparisons to Kendrick. So far this spring in 3 innings, he has only given up 1 ER on 2 hits.
Jeff Manship: The 28 year old non-roster invitee has come out of nowhere to put himself right in the middle of this race. Today he gave up his 1st run of the spring, but now sports a 1.29 ERA and a 0.71 WHIP in 7 innings. Manship has made 10 career starts in the Majors, but that "experience" comes with a 6.42 ERA. Maybe he has figured it out, but its hard for me to trust 7 innings March over his poor results when it counted.
Sean O'Sullivan: Like Manship, O'Sullivan is a non-roster invitee. He has yet to give up a run in his 5 innings of work. And unlike Manship, he has had some success in the bigs. Last season, in 7 games (3 starts), he went 0-2 with a 3.96 ERA.
Mario Hollands: He is the sleeper of the group as he has yet to pitch above AA. But the big lefty has had people raving so far this spring. Some umps have even admitted they missed some calls because his ball moves so much. Last year in 27 games (20 starts) between Clearwater and Reading, he went 7-3 with a 2.86 ERA.
Outside the Organization: Nothing against any of the 4 options, but they are not great. I think there is a still a chance that a player outside of the organization gets the 5th spot. Seth Rosin has pitched great for the Dodgers but as a Rule 5 draftee, he must be returned to the Phillies if he isn't placed on there 25 man roster. And former Phillies Joe Blanton and Vance Worley may be in danger of being roster cuts.
Last 4 in
John Mayberry Jr: It is very possible that the Phillies decide to go with an extra bench option until they need a 5th starter. My rational for keeping him off the previous projection had more to do with giving Ruf a chance. In an ideal world, they would trade Mayberry for a 5th starter and everyone would be happy.
Darin Ruf: Keeping Mayberry and sending Ruf to AAA would be the easy thing to do. Mayberry provides more versatility as he can play CF and obvioulsy Ruf can't. But Galvis did start in CF yesterday and Byrd could always play CF in a pinch. I've always liked Mayberry but Ruf just deserves a chance with the Big Club! For now I have them keeping both, but I doubt they can afford to keep both when they need a 5th starter. And they might even choose to go with a 5th starter from the start of the season.
Bobby Abreu: If only Mayberry or Ruf would be a lefty or at least a switch hitter. I just don't think they will go into the season with Galvis (SH) has there only option off the bench from the left side. The soon to be 40 year old has just 2 hits in 18 AB's but does have a decent .333 OBP. Tony Gwynn Jr. would be another left handed option.
Jeremy Horst: The lefty has been better lately but he hasn't really earned his spot. Sadly the team doesn't have a ton of options with recent injuries. He will continue to battle Aumont, Munson and Jimenez for the final spot. His past role as the team's long man makes me think he is front runner right now, but this may be the most fluid race on the team right now.
First 4 out
Tony Gwynn Jr. If the Phillies decide not to go with Abreu, I think Gwynn would be the benefactor. The speedy lefty has had a solid spring as he currently is hitting .250 with a impressive .470 OBP. Gwynn's speed and ability to play center gives him a chance to pull the upset.
Kevin Munson: Oh no, Ruben has found himself yet another Rule 5 crush. But Munson has actually pitched very well this spring as he has given up just one run in 6 innings.
Phillippe Aumont: Aumont has been up and down this spring. But he's too inconstistent to trust right now. Some time with the Pigs could give him a little more time.
Shawn Camp: He is yet another guy competing for the final spot in the pen. This could all be forgotten if Mike Adams is healthy enough for Opening Day. He's a long shot, but the 38 year old has a ton of ML experience and has had a sucessful spring.