One Day Away
The Phillies finalized their 25-man roster before Opening Day tomorrow at Citizens Bank Park (please, don’t rain). The Phillies cut Luis Castillo, which surprised me a bit. I thought he played well enough to get a crack at starting the season with the team, especially because the Phillies could have sent Pete Orr and Delwyn Young to the Minor Leagues without the risk of losing them. I like the fact Castillo can work a count and get on base, something this lineup is lacking without Chase Utley and Jayson Werth. Castillo saw 3.98 pitches per plate appearance last season. He would have ranked 22nd in the National League, if he had enough plate appearances to qualify.
Werth led the NL with 4.36 last season. Raul Ibanez ranked 20th (4.00) and Utley ranked 21st (3.99).
But I can’t blame Charlie Manuel for going with Wilson Valdez. He plays better defense than Castillo and with this starting rotation defense is critical. I’m not sure how many games Castillo would have won with his bat, but I could see him extending a few innings with his glove.
I also thought Manuel might pick Young over Orr for the final bench spot, once they cut Castillo. But Young isn’t much of a defensive player and Orr’s versatility played big.
And the bullpen? No surprises there. I thought they probably were finished with the bullpen last week in Clearwater when they optioned Scott Mathieson and Mike Zagurski to Minor League camp, and they were. The Phillies really, really like Michael Stutes, but they probably want to give him a little more seasoning in the Minors. I would bet Phillies fans see him at some point this season, if he is pitching well when then the Phillies need to make a roster move.