Saturday, March 8, 2014

Spring Training Report I: 1st round of cuts and bad signs

We are halfway through Spring Training and we begin with the cuts as minor league camp opens up):
  • Optioned: RHPs Mike Stutes (recovery from shoulder injuries) & Luis Garcia
  • Non-roster invitees: OF Leandro Castro & C Sebastian Valle
  • 40-Man Roster: OFs Aaron Alther & Kelly Dugan
  • Potential DL Stints: Cole Hamels (tendinitis) & Mike Adams (surgery) due to shoulder injuries
Cole suffered a set-back in his recovery from off-season tendinitis preventing him from progressing to batting practice from bullpen sessions. He will be shut down (again) for about a week and a DL stint is all but certain for the $144MM lefty. This, of course, is not welcomed news, as the starting pitching depth has depleted; however, if Cole is able to make one or two Spring Training starts (minor or major league) without further set-backs, he should be on the team in mid-April. This leaves a rotation of Lee-Burnett-Kendrick-Hernandez out of camp until 4/13, when a five-man rotation is required (typical early-season off days). Then, if Hamels can't return, it will be three non-roster invitees competing for the 5th man, unless the Phillies sign someone else. Biddle will need to play in AAA even though I'd like to see him up here. Miguel Gonzalez is not doing well in games and will open the season in the minors. Let's hope Cole is back in mid-April.

These cuts, injuries, and development notes leave the Phillies with 48 in spring training (33 from the 40-man & 15 invitees) competing for 25 active spots although there are only about 7 spots open for the taking (1 starting pitcher for 4/13, 2-4 bullpen, & 2-3 bench). Fourteen are locks to make the 25-man and another 14 or so are competing for those ~7 spots. Should be an interesting three weeks.

Things are not off to a great start as far as Spring Training records go - only 1-2 wins in 6-8 games played. Now, a loosing record in ST is not always a bad omen for the regular season, but this team can ill-afford many bad signs given their age.

Right now, let's take the wait-and-see approach: perhaps things will be much brighter toward the end of March. But, I have a feeling my off-season predictions will be revised for worse come late March.

Have a great week everyone and Go Phillies!!!

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