If I Ran the Phillies…

I'm not the President of the Phillies. I'm not the General Manager of the Phillies either. I'm not the Manager. I'm just a 17 game season ticket-holder of 26 years who attends 40 professional baseball games a year and gets the MLB package to watch even more. I'd like to think of myself as an educated "guesser" about what the real experts are thinking. A lot of times though, I do find myself disagreeing with them. So, rather than writing another piece about what I think they will do, which there will be plenty of time for later, I figured I'd weigh in on what I would do if I ran the team.

My 25 man roster would look something like this:

Rotation

  1. Jeremy Hellickson- Yes, I would give him the Opening Day nod. I know, the fans want Nola to get it, but as much as I think Nola will be a fine Major Leaguer for many years to come, I do not believe he is that close to a #1 starter now, or that he will be later (I'll go on record saying he'll be a solid #2). I know, Hellickson isn't a #1 either, I get that. I also get that he's a veteran who won't be here next year, so I have little issue throwing him out there to take a lot of losses this year. In the grand scheme, because pitchers don't neatly match-up against other teams' #1 guys, this is a small issue. Since it's an issue at all though, I'll weigh in on it.
  2. Charlie Morton- Yes, I am putting him way too high. Again though, i'm not really worried about what a frustrating season might do to him. He and Hellickson are here to eat innings and earn a few million bucks for it, and i'm fine with letting him do that. As a veteran, these two should be up to handling a long season.
  3. Aaron Nola- So why drop a kid down to #3 who has done everything well so far as a pro? Well, for one, I want to defuse the fan expectations on this kid as much as possible. He had a nice debut last season, but many fans have already overhyped his ceiling. Let him pitch in the middle of the rotation and mostly face mediocre opposing pitchers, where one mistake a start doesn't send him to a 15 loss season. I'd like to see Nola get a chance to pitch with slightly less pressure, and have a chance to work on things. I'm totally fine if they decide to throw him #2, and let him start the home opener too. That will make some fans happy. 
  4. Jerad Eickhoff- In my opinion, the Phillies hit the jackpot with this kid. He has a killer breaking ball for an out-pitch, a solid fastball, and seemed to mix his stuff well. I don't know if I like him more or less than Nola yet, and want to see more from both this season, but I could almost write everything I wrote about Nola above for Eickhoff here. I'm excited for both, and hope their sophomore seasons in the bigs are just as good as the debut.
  5. Vince Velasquez- It's pretty close between him, Adam Morgan, and Brett Oberholtzer, and there's a good argument to option him to AAA to start the season. He's never pitched there, he's another righty, he has options, and you could keep him stretched out. Even so, he's the most talented of the three options, and I like the idea of letting three young prospect arms go out and see if they can hit stride together. Morgan would start the season in AAA then, and probably get some use relatively soon.
Line-Up
  1. Cesar Hernandez-2B- I know, there are plenty of fans who don't like him. There are plenty of holes in his game, but I do not see Bourjos as a lead-off man for a team winning more than 65 games, and I like Herrera in the two hole. Cesar will hit for a respectable average, steal bases, and hopefully walk more this season. If he does those things, and mixes in a few extra-base hits, you can overlook his mediocre defense.
  2. Odubel Herrera-CF- I hope that in the long run, the Phillies look at him at second base (because I like Roman Quinn). With that said, Herrera is set for a big season for him, where he will look to prove last season's good numbers are real. 
  3. Maikel Franco-3B- I expect that we'll be talking about Maikel as the best player on this team this season. His range isn't great, but he makes some spectacular plays, and has a strong arm. He can hit for a solid average, and will hit for power. I'm looking for an OPS of over .800 and more than 25 homers from him this year.
  4. Ryan Howard/Darin Ruf-1B- If this platoon is utilized correctly, they could make for one adequate offensive player who's defense leaves you a lot to be desired. I'm very tempted to put Brock Stassi into this spot with Ruf and buy-out Howard, but I think you let him go out and try to prove he can still play Major League Baseball. I like how Ruf looks this Spring, so far. If Howard struggles early, you discuss a buyout to clear room for Stassi to get a look.
  5. Carlos Ruiz/Cameron Rupp-C- I will go on the record and say that I would have sought to trade at least one of these two in the off-season. With that said, they are here, and this is where the Phillies line-up begins to fall apart. They are both a bit offensively challenged, but provide maybe just enough power to keep teams honest with our four hole guys. Maybe.
  6. Peter Bourjos-LF- Bourjos will play an excellent outfield, but he won't ever be the hitter the Angels hoped he would be when he came up. With that said, I would absolutely stick him here, if for no other reason than to protect the guys who will hit behind him.
  7. Freddy Galvis-SS- Freddy hit better than I expected last year. With that said, don't confuse him for a great hitter. He'll play solid defense, we hope, and hopefully match last season offensively. The real question to be answered this year is whether you like him or Cesar Hernandez better at second base once J.P. Crawford arrives in Philadelphia. For that reason, it's a big season for both.
  8. Tyler Goeddel/Darnell Sweeney-RF- You might be thinking I've lost my mind putting these two in a platoon, but I haven't. Goeddel has had a good Spring, but has exactly zero MLB time coming into this season. Sweeney probably isn't an every day player, but can be valuable to this team moving forward. Getting them both some at-bats while protecting them from getting overwhelmed is a better use of playing time than giving the at-bats away to a veteran you pick up off of waivers, in my humble opinion.
 Bench
  1. Rupp/Ruiz- You have to carry two catchers. Since I expect them to split time, that puts one on the bench each night.
  2. Howard/Ruf- Once again, when you have a platoon, one guy is always on the bench.
  3. Goeddel/Sweeney- The good news with Sweeney is that on nights he's not starting, he's a versatile bench presence.
  4. Andres Blanco- Blanco will be the rock of this bench. He plays a bunch of positions, he can pinch-hit, and he's a good veteran presence with the younger guys on this team.
  5. Brock Stassi- Since it seems that Cody Asche is going to start the season on the DL, you have a bit of a first base log jam to start in the minors, he's not that young, you have 40 man space to work with, and it's a very temporary spot, I would add the 2015 Eastern League MVP to the roster for the first couple of weeks and see how he does. This is a make-or-break season for him after breaking out last season anyway, so I would be aggressive and challenge him with upper level assignments. He can play first, or go to a corner outfield in a pinch. I'd challenge him. The only argument against this is roster space.
Bullpen
  1. David Hernandez- The righty is a candidate to close and has a guaranteed contract. He's pitched late innings for teams before, and is a lock to make the team if he gets his health together.
  2. Jeanmar Gomez- He had a very nice season last year, and looks like a lock to make this year's bullpen. Look for him to see an increased role. 
  3. Edward Mujica- This former All-Star closer is throwing well this Spring, and is well worth a 40 man spot and bullpen slot to start the season. Consider him a candidate to close too.
  4. Brett Oberholtzer- He's out of options and throwing the ball well. While I'm not putting him in the fifth starter spot, he's versatile enough to be a lefty reliever and long man out of the pen. He can give you spot starts if they stretch him out enough, and might come in handy with injuries. He's definitely worth keeping in the bullpen.
  5. Daniel Stumpf- The Rule 5 pick has thrown well overall, despite a hiccup on Monday. I'd like to see them keep him and try to work on him during the year. 
  6. Dalier Hinojosa- For me, it comes down to him, Elvis Araujo, and Luis Garcia. Right now, I like Hinojosa, who impressed last September. I'd at least like to see if he can get off to a rolling start and possibly pitch into a late inning role.
  7. Andrew Bailey- He's the final closer candidate and absolutely someone I'd like to see the Phillies keep. He's throwing well and should make the team, but as a non-roster invitee, the Phillies will need to make sure they have enough 40 man spots to do it. 
DL
  • 60-Day- Matt Harrison, Aaron Altherr
  • 15-Day- Cody Asche, Mario Hollands
The Phillies would probably need one more 40 man roster spot (presuming no more major injuries) in order to keep Mujica, Bailey, and Stassi. I do not believe the Phillies will try to clear the spot for Stassi, frankly. I'm not even sure they will for Bailey either, since his opt-out isn't until May 1st. They will probably go pick up a veteran outfielder and keep another righty reliever, if I had to guess right now. Even if they do keep Bailey on the roster, they will clear out another pitcher from the roster in order to go get a veteran outfielder. No matter though- this wasn't what is likely to happen, it's just my feeling of what should.