An updated look at the Phillies 2016 roster

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The Phillies are on an impressive off-season path, one in which they may not commit more than this season to any player they pick up. In fact, their roster lacks any players at all who have a signed contract in place that guarantees them to play in Philadelphia beyond 2016. They have focused so heavily on picking up pitchers on the waiver wire this off-season that they have an impressive number of options to look at, and have not given out one dime in long term money.

With yesterday's pick-up of Peter Bourjos and loss of Nefi Ogando, the Phillies roster has 38 players on it. Bourjos and Andres Blanco signed contracts for next season yesterday as well. Here's a look at the 25 and 40 man roster outlooks right now.

  • Starting Pitchers- You can pretty much write in Jeremy Hellickson, Aaron Nola, and Jerad Eickhoff to start out on the 25 man roster. If Matt Harrison comes to Spring Training and is healthy, write him in too. My guess right now is that Adam Morgan is the favorite to win the fifth spot on Opening Day. That sends Alec Asher, David Buchanan, and Severino Gonzalez back to Lehigh Valley, Jesse Biddle to the 60 Day DL, Joely Rodriguez likely to the bullpen, and Chris Leroux back to Lehigh Valley, though his role there is questionable. Biddle's DL status will allow the Phillies to add someone to the 40 man roster as a 41st player.
  • Bullpen- Ken Giles, Luis Garcia, Elvis Araujo, and Jeanmar Gomez come in as the extremely to fairly safe incumbents with spots in the seven man bullpen, leaving three open spots. Hector Neris and Dalier Hinojosa both threw decently well last year, and that should help their case, but neither will come in as a lock. Mario Hollands missed last season with Tommy John surgery, but has shown the kind of arm in the past that you would want in the late innings. A.J. Achter, Dan Otero, and Michael Mariot, all righties, were brought in off of waivers and are on the 40 man roster. Lefty James Russell is in on a minor league deal, as are righties Leroux, Reinier Roibal, and Frank Herrmann, all of whom can grab the open spot created by Biddle's injury. Younger righties Edubray Ramos, Jimmy Cordero, and Colton Murray are all probably bound for AAA Lehigh Valley.
  • Catchers- You can virtually write-in Cameron Rupp and Carlos Ruiz as the major league catchers. Jorge Alfaro will likely end up in AA. Andrew Knapp does not have a 40 man spot, but is likely to be in AAA.
  • Infielders- Right now, it would appear that Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf will share the first base duties, Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis will be up the middle, and Maikel Franco will get the starts at third. Andres Blanco is likely to be the utility man. Darnell Sweeney could make the team as an outfielder, but he's no lock. Emmanuel Burriss and Ryan Jackson will start camp as long shots, especially without 40 man spots, but there is an open spot thanks to Biddle. Cody Asche lessens the need for extra infielders, because he can sub in there too.
  • Outfielders- Odubel Herrera, Aaron Altherr, Asche, and Peter Bourjos are all virtual locks. The Phillies could stop there, and open up room for an extra infielder to make the team, as Ruf could serve as the fifth outfielder. They could also give Sweeney the spot, if they so choose. Roman Quinn is probably AAA bound to start out the season.
With two spots still open, the Phillies will probably focus their energies on the Rule 5 Draft next week. They are in need yet of possibly one more outfielder and a pitcher, preferably a starter, but a reliever wouldn't hurt either. Next week they will pick first in the Rule 5 Draft, and have said they will take the best available player. I'd recommend that player play outfield. A veteran starting pitcher from the free agency or trade markets would also help. At that point, it'll be off to Clearwater in two months, with a relatively stable roster this time.