One Day Away

It looks like we’re set.

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.

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15 Comments

I think that Orr’s speed will be a big help no matter where they have him playing. You could certainly see how surprisingly fast and athletic he really is when he hit that stand up triple last night and flew around the bases! It looks like we’re going to have a great season ahead of us!

Who are they playing tonight?

I liked Castillo too. You really have to scratch your head on why they would let him go so quickly. There was something about his presence in the lineup that gave it a refreshing feel. It’s been a while since we’ve had a player whose approach is solely focused on getting on based and truly working the count. Not just swinging for the fence in every situation. He put a lot of pressure on the pitcher to throw deceptive pitches cause he doesn’t swing at junk. I really think he was positively affecting the rest of the lineup and not just in a Spring Training-esque way. It’s way to early for certainties but on day they release Castillo, something just didn’t sit well last night with 2 hits against the Pirates pitching staff? I like Valdez as much as the next hard working man, but one thing this lineup has been missing is freshness; The guy that won’t take the pitcher out of the park but is determined to be a pesky out who wants nothing more than to at least get under your skin. I love this lineup, but sometimes it can be a pushover if the weather isn’t just right. This season I want to see some pop but just a little more grinding ABs.

I think Nick makes a compelling argument as to why Castillo just doesn’t fit in their lineup. Pesky players don’t fit with their scheme.
All this time, I was thinking it was because they had a choice over whether to let Martinez (Rule 5) go or keep him and let Castillo go.

Castillo may have been able to offer something but as we’ve all been saying for a while already, it’s time to get younger and having Orr, is that chance. Neither of them will play that much even with Utley out. Figure 2b will be like the catcher, once a week Valdez will sit. Once Utley is back Orr goes to AAA. Since we are, in effect talking about the 25th man, I prefer him over Castillo. BTW, can anyone name last year’s 25th man on opening day? How about 2009 and 2008?

I’m surprised at some of the choiced they made at the bottom of the roster. This isn’t the best team they could have taken north.

I agree with Todd’s assessment of the 25 man roster. I think with some to the folks they sent to the minors was a good decision to allow them more playing time and to better their skills.

Hope the weather holds out and that its not a wet and cold, but just a cold Opening Day. Unfortunately will be at work, but I believe WIP is airing the game so I hope to be able to listen to it online. If not its MLBs game tracker.

Phan: which choices are you referring to?

@FIJ

Last year was Juan Castro or dobbs depending on your view.
Sometimes there isn’t a straight up 25th man. Usually you have a primary pinch hitter, 4-5th OFs, backup C, utility infielder. But if some of those overlap, you might take a 25th guy that is excessive in one of those areas, like valdez-mart-orr. Usually someone will surprise/outperform and just invalidate others and open up a space to make a move.

f-i-j, I think Martinez and Orr are the same player. They should have somebody who offers some more diversity, or even just another guy with a singular skill.
And I can’t believe that they have the best bullpen arms on the roster. I’d take Stutes, Mathieson, Worley or even Zagurski over Kendrick. Kendrick serves one purpose only; as a possible emergency starter. So he should be pitching every fifth day down in AAA to keep his arm stretched out.

I think KK is the long man, something that you don’t want to younger guys to have to be. AS you said, you want them pitching regular in AAA so if needed they can be called up like Bastardo was last year. I think Shutes is a case in point and Worley is the guy they are keeping in AAA as the emergency starter if someone goes down. AS for Martinez and Orr being the same, with Utley out and Poly having elbow issues, they need as many extra infielders as possible. No room for a pure PH like Young. When Brown comes back it will be interesting to see who goes to AAA

I think the Phillies are going to lose. Who are they playing anyway?

i think phils will be find i just dont know why they keep sticking with hernden when they have stutts that has been lights out all spring and mathison who was lights out in miners closeing leave them up and drop hernden .

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Well, as you know (I hope) roster construction isn’t always about taking the best possible players. Sometimes, it’s a matter of leaving guys back in the minors who have options left in favor of Rule 5 guys and players with no options that they would otherwise lose.
As with a lot of things in sports, if you’re dependent on the bottom of your roster to take a lot of playing time, you’re in bad shape – so does it really matter all that much?
It’s up to the core of this ballclub to perform.

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