With only a week prior to Opening Day, you knew the Phillies were going to get active shaping their roster. A few big names had opt-outs this week, so the team was going to have to decide on them this week.
Well, those decisions are starting to trickle in.
Brandon Kintzler and Matt Joyce both seemed destined to win roster spots from the beginning. The team gave Kintzler a guarantee of $3 million if he made the team, a bigger amount than most teams tie to MiLB deals. He pitched well for the team in spring, throwing eight innings of one run ball. Kintzler struck out nine, while only issuing one free pass. He will surely slot into a bullpen that will look quite different than last Opening Day.
Joyce came in looking for a bench spot as the 4th or 5th outfielder on this team. He had a good spring, hitting .320 with a HR and 4 RBIs. The Phillies really missed a veteran coming off the bench last season, and Joyce will certainly help fill the void. Defensively, he is limited to the outfield corners, but most of his at-bats will come in pinch hitting spots.
Tony Watson, who received the same contract that Kintzler did, is the big surprise here, though it shouldn’t be. He looked very erratic during his time this spring, and was hurt by the 40-man roster crunch the Phillies are facing. All in all, Watson gave up four earned runs in his five innings of work, while striking out seven. Unfortunately for Watson, the Phillies had a lot of people vying for a bullpen spot, some who already have 40-man spots. With Watson’s release, Jojo Romero becomes likely to make the team out of Spring Training.
I always thought that Howard was going to start the season in Triple-A. He still has not pitched for Lehigh Valley, and he could use the time to work on his consistency. Plus, Howard starting in the minors allows the Phillies to limit his innings for the stretch run. I would much rather have a healthy and rested Howard in July and August than in March and April. If Howard goes down and dominates in his starts, it will not take long for him to make it back to Philadelphia.
Muzziotti is an interesting CF prospect, highly regarded in league circles for his hit tool and defensive abilities. While we don’t know what’s wrong with him, the restricted list placement opens up a 40-man spot as long as he is on it. Assuming the roster is the way it is expected to be now, the team will only have to open up one spot for the NRIs.
There are some final touches needed, but the roster is almost set. Outside of the centerfield competition, the team’s roster looks complete. The team has four more games before Opening Day.
The time for scrimmaging is coming to an end. The players will need to make sure they are ready to go, as the Phillies host the Braves to open the season. Here’s hoping they can validate all the excitement that Phillies’ fans are feeling!
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