Baseball is now offically back! The Phillies will play their annual "On Deck" Series at the Bank before they head to Texas for Opening Day on Monday. The biggest decision on the 25 man roster is if they carry a 5th starter during the 1st 2 weeks or go with either an 8 man pen or a 6 man bench. The Phillies will also be on crunch for spots on the 40 man, as my projection would have them at 41. But guys like Jeremy Horst and Luis Garcia could be DFA and MAG's could be put on 60 day DL.
The Phillies have made several moves tonight that leaves little doubt on the final spots. They have optioned Aumont to Lehigh Valley and have informed Reid Brignac that he will not make the club. The Phils also aquired veteran utilty man Laynce Nix for cash considerations and have placed him on the 40 man roster.
Starting Lineup: Revere, Rollins, Utley, Howard, Byrd, Brown, Ruiz, Asche
Bench: Nieves, Hernandez, Nix, Mayberry, Gywnn Jr.
Starting Rotation: Lee, Burnett, Kendrick, Hernandez,
Bullpen: Papelbon, Bastardo, Diekman, De Fratus, Rosenberg, Lincoln, Camp, Hollands
Disabled List: Hamels, Adams, Pettibone, Martin, Ruf, Galvis, Gonzalez
In: Hernandez, Nix, Hollands
Out: Frandsen, Cedeno, Abreu
Last 4 In:
Jayson Nix: Yup, he's Laynce's younger brother (I guess their parents like the letter Y). The fact that he was placed on the 40 man makes him a lock for Opening Day. I don't really see him as a significant upgrade to Brignac but does have slightly more power. You could say he's a slightly worse Kevin Frandsen that can play SS.
BJ Rosenberg: I don't really think he is on the bubble but it wouldn't completely shock me if he doesn't make the cut. Sandberg showed a lot of confidence him down the stretch last year and he has been solid during the spring. There's no reason to think he won't make it, but his remaining options make it a small possibility.
Shawn Camp: He has been on of the few pleasant surprises the Phils had this spring. In 8.1 innings this spring, he has allowed just 1 run and 9 hits (ZERO walks) while striking out 7. He should give the pen a consistent strike thrower to go with their young and sometimes inconsistent arms. The veteran right hander is looking to play for his 5th different team. He will have to impress early because set-up man Mike Adams will likely return in mid April.
Mario Hollands: If Camp wins the award for most off the radar spring for a veteran, Hollands wins it for the young guys. He has just 12.2 innings above AA in the minors but its time for the 25 year old to get his chance. The big lefty gives the team versatility as he can go multiple innings. Look for Hollands to be the team's long man but don't rule out a match up against a tough lefty if the need arises.
1st 2 Out
David Buchanan: "Buch" has had an impressive spring but the lack of a need for a 5th starter until April 13 means he starts the season in the minors. If they decide they would rather give the starters an extra day of rest early in the season and go with a 5th starter. Buchanan is the leading candidate to be the 5th man.
Jeff Manship: He has done everything he could have in order to make the team. Unfortunately for him, his past struggles in the majors where probably two big to allow the team to trust him. He still has an outside shot to beat out Hollands for the 8th spot in the pen and be the team's long man. And if they do want to start the seaosn with a 5th starter, they could vie to go with Manship's experience over the inexperienced Buchanan.