Its hard to believe that Opening Day is just 8 days away! . Unfortunately the 2015 Phillies go into the season with their lowest expectations in a decade but its still baseball! It hasn't been a great spring health wise for the Phillies, as they will have at least 3 players start the season on the DL. But every injury is just another opportunity to someone who is on the roster bubble. Today we learned the shocking news that Hamels will get the start on Opening Day. McClure also announced Harang will get the ball on "Opening Night", but he wouldn't commit on an order for the rest of the rotation. The roster is becoming clearer by the day, as just 36 players remain in the big league camp.
Lineup: Revere, Galvis, Utley, Howard, Ruiz, Asche, Herrera, Francoeur
Bench: Rupp, Hernandez, Danks, Ruf, Sizemore
Rotation: Hamels, Harang, Williams, Buchanan,
Bullpen: Papelbon, Giles, Diekman, De Fratus, Oliver, Garcia, Gomez, Slowey
DL: Lee (60 day), Billingsley, Hollands (60 day), Brown
IN: Francoeur, Danks, Gomez
OUT: Brown (DL), Hollands (DL), Blanco
DFA: Philippe Aumont (RHP): Out of Minor League Options
Optioned: Jonathan Pettibone (RHP), Caesar Jimenez (LHP) Rene Garcia (C), Russ Canzler (IF), Andres Blanco (IF), Cord Phelps (IF), Brian Bogusevic (OF),
Last 4 in:
1. Luis Garcia: The Phillies 2014 Minor League Pitcher of the year has had as good of a spring as you could ask for. He has pitched 9 scoreless innings while striking out 7. But perhaps more telling on his spring is the fact that he has only walked 2 hitters in his 9 IP. Right now there isn't really a reason not to give him a chance in the big leagues. Hopefully his pure stuff will finally translate to the big league level.
2. Jeff Francoeur OF: It seems like the Phillies will be very cautious Dom Brown, so it leaves the door open for Frenchy to not only make the roster but possible be in the Opening Day Lineup. He is a very good defensive RF and his RH bat gives the lineup more balance. We learned today that RHP Clay Buchholz will start for Boston next Monday. So Sandberg could elect to start the LH Danks in right, but starting Francoeur will give him a more balanced lineup.
3. Jordan Danks OF: Danks was claimed by the Phillies off of waivers during the offseason, so he is already on the 40 man roster. He has had a solid spring hitting .257 with 1 HR and 5 RBI's. But his biggest selling point's are are he is the best defensive OF on the team and he can play all 3 positions in the outfield. The health of Dom Brown will impact his chances as the team won't carry 7 OF (6 is pushing it, but Hererra (2B) and Ruf (1B) can play some infield). If Dom is healthy, it will be either Danks or Francoeur. Not both.
T4. Kevin Slowey: The veteran seems like the logical choice until Billingsley is healthy enough to join the rotation. He has had a solid spring as he has just allowed 4 ER in 9 2/3 IP. But his usage lately clouds his role. He hasn't pitched more than 1 2/3 in each of his last 4 outings. And with only 8 days until Opening Day, it would be tough for him to be stretched out in time. The Phillies don't need a 5th starter until April 12, so he could be the team's long man out of the pen util then.
T4. Jeanmar Gomez RHP: The 27 year old righty has done just about everything he could have this spring. Gomez doesn't have overpowering stuff like some of the other members of the pen but he can still get hitters out. He seems like the logical choice for the team's last spot in the pen. But Amaro and logic don't always seem to go together.
Last 4 out:
1. Dominic Brown (DL): Brown is still recovering from Achilles tendinitis and has yet to appear in a game since the injury. With just 8 days until Opening Day, it appears more and more likely that he will start the season on the DL. There isn't any reason to rush Brown back and risk a future more serious injury.
2. Phillippe Aumont RHP: There becomes a certain point in a players career that you have to stop talking about their "potential" and realize that they are the player they are. Sadly I think this is the case for Aumont. He's got flat out nasty stuff but the Phillies can no longer wait on him to get his control issues fixed. Aumont is out of options and will have to be DFA and exposed to waivers if he is not on the 25 man roster. He is lone piece remaining from the Cliff Lee trade debacle.
3 Cesar Jimenez LHP: The injury to Mario Hollands puts Jimenez back into the mix for the final spot. He doesn't have great spring numbers this season but he would give the Phillies versatility out of the pen as he has served as the team's "long man" before. Jimenez also had a 1.69 ERA in 16 IP with the big club last year. He hasn't been great this spring as he has a 5.87 ERA in 7 2/3 IP. He's probably a long shot, but his past success in the big's puts him on the radar.
4. Andres Blanco IF: Hernandez spent some time at SS on Thursday. Does this mean the Phillies are comfortable with Cesar as there only backup SS? I guess we won't know for sure until the roster is announced. But it seems like the most likely option right now. This would allow the Phillies young players to get more AB's. Plus Blanco isn't on the 40 man and would have to be added if he makes the 25 man. It also wouldn't suprise me if the Phillies added a utility man after the final round of cuts are made.