|Happier Times- Game 3 of the 2008 World Series, the game I waited 15 years to see.|
So what will the 2013 Phillies look like? What kind of team will grace the field on Opening Day? Will they go over the luxury tax? Here's my current take:
- Starting Infield: Chooch will return behind the plate, bank that. Howard will be at first, and Utley at second, barring something really unforeseen. I suppose there's a chance that Jimmy is traded, I just really doubt it. By my estimation, third base will be filled outside the organization, either in free agency or a trade (trade being more likely), though I suppose there's a shot that Galvis takes that job.
- Starting Outfield: Write down Dom Brown, and say he's likely to be in left. I think Schierholtz ends up back in right, platooning with a right-handed bat that the Phillies will try to find on the free agency market. Probably someone in the $2-3 million range that hits lefties very well. I believe they will fill the third outfield slot- most likely center- in free agency.
- Rotation: If it were me, Halladay, Hamels, and Lee all return, thought I'd say it's 50/50 in my mind on Lee actually returning. I see no point to moving him, as the money you save on him will be spent on filling an outfield slot and replacing him, easily. I'd pencil in Worley at four. In the five slot, I think you'll see a competition between Kendrick, Cloyd, and Pettibone right now, with either of the AAA arms being preferable.
- Bench: I believe you will see Kratz as the back-up catcher, and Galvis as the utility man. Obviously the guy you sign to platoon with Schierholtz (or Nate himself), will have to be on the bench too. Laynce Nix will still be under contract, and is a useful enough hitter to probably warrant a return, unless you get a good offer. That leaves one spot, and Wigginton under club control (with a $4 million option), as well as Mayberry (arbitration eligible). In my mind, I'd consider letting both walk, and going to sign a right handed bat for the bench that has experience pinch-hitting. I won't be too mad if they keep Wigginton, it just seems like his contract is too high.
- Bullpen: I would say the only absolute lock is Papelbon, closely followed by Lindblom. I would take a guess that Kendrick is back as the long man, leaving them with three righties to start the pen. I would say Mike Stutes, if healthy, would be favored for a fourth slot. Bastardo is likely a lock, though his 2012 looks more like his pre-2011 career. That leaves two slots. I think one is probably filled outside of the organization by signing a real set-up man (note here: not a $1.25 million Chad Qualls). The other is likely a lefty competition between Horst, Diekman, and Savery, with Horst holding the early edge.
- Other 40 man slots: The Phillies have 38 guys on the current 40 man, and I just penciled in five new players. I also shipped out several guys, including Schneider, Pierre, Mayberry, Wigginton, Contreras (currently 60 day), hopefully Mini-Mart, and maybe more. Guys currently on the 40 man who I don't have shipped out yet: Herndon (currently 60 day), De Fratus, Schwimer, Aumont, Diekman, Savery, Rosenberg, Ramirez, Valle, Frandsen, Hernandez, Luna, Valdes, and Gillies. Obviously that leaves us with 39 guys on the 40 man, which while possible, will not happen. I would think that Herndon, Frandsen, Luna, and Valdes are all in danger of being dropped, and some of the others could be traded. They will need to add May, Pettibone, Rodriguez, Martin, Joseph, and possibly Ruf, Overbeck, Castro, and/or James to protect them, or use them next year. Herndon could stay on the 60 day heading into next spring training to avoid needing a decision there.