The 25 Man Roster in Twenty-Eleven
So I recently read some pretty insane theories by Phillies fans on Facebook who said we should try to trade Joe Blanton to the Yankees for Nick Swisher. Ummm… what? Nick Swisher was an All-Star last year. Joe Blanton was 3-5 with a 6.41 ERA at the All-Star break. People also wanted us to trade for “Upton” (not distinguishing between BJ or Justin) or, get this, [Carl] Crawford. Considering I was the one to tell my old roommate that the Red Sox had acquired Carl Crawford about 10 minutes before it broke on ESPN, I was a little pretrubed to say the least. Do these Phillies fans just not pay attention to baseball or do they honestly think the Yankees, Rays, Diamondbacks or Red Sox would willingly hand over their star players for Joe Blanton? I know it’s just past Christmas, but even this is wishing a little too much of an already awesome Christmas Miracle. But it all got me thinking: the Phillies are obviously going to have to make some moves considering we still need a bullpen. Are those moves going to come from within the organization or outside? Now I know Todd Zolecki recently answered some questions about what’s going to happen but I’ve decided to address what our 25 man roster will look like come April 1st, when Roy Halladay will square off against Bretty Myers at Citizens Bank Park in an attempted to provide you with an ACCURATE depiction of what the 2011 Philadelphia Phillies roster will look like.
First, we’ll talk about the easiest part of the team to predict: the (possibly) historic starting rotation.
Baby Kyle and the Terror Squad. I think Joe Blanton gets traded for a prospect of almost no value at all and we eat probably $10 million of his $17 million, but I hope for less money to be eaten up. For some poor team it is going the equivalent of the Roy Oswalt deal: a pretty good pitcher (relative to what you have) for about 50% off. People will grumble here about what we should have got for him, what we could have and whatever. Of course, if you followed the links you saw in the last post about why it may be a good idea for the Phightins to keep Big Joe but it just seems so very unlikely. If I was behind the reigns I’m not sure I’d be moving Joey “The Situation” B, but all indications since the Lee signing have been that we’ll try to free up space by trading Joe The Hammer. Anyway, this gives us 5 of the 25 cap. 20 to go.
Let’s move now to the infield, another very easy discernible area, probably easier than the starting rotation but I really just wanted to write “Cliff Lee” as soon and often as possible.
Catcher- Carlos Ruiz
First Base- Ryan Howard
Second Base- Chase Utley
Third Base- Placido Polanco
Shortstop- Jimmy Rollins
Pretty “No duh” here. Brings us down to 15 players left. Like I said in my 2011 preview, I expect Jimmy to have a bounce back year with this being his walk year, Ruiz to finally get some All-Star respect, Ryan to live up to his contract a little bit AND Chase Utley to win his deserved MVP award. I am hopeful, leave me alone. Let’s go to the outfield, where things finally get interesting.
Leftfield- Raul Ibanez
Centerfield- Shane Victorino
Rightfield- Benjamin Francisco
Yeah, I said it. Benjamin Francisco will be your starting RF on opening day. He was brought in to be a power right handed bat when we got him in the Lee trade and that is exactly what he will be this year as the starting right hander. He has a decent arm, he’s fast, good defense and 3 years ago he hit 15 homeruns as a starter. He’s had 3 years of development, so if by “power” you mean homeruns, than he is your man. This brings us down to 12 remaining slots. But what about Domonic Brown?
John Mayberry Jr.
Those who know me know I love Mayberry so him being on the roster may be a little bias, but this is what seems to be the talk around the web. I highly doubt the Phillies will go with 3 outfielders on the bench, giving us 6 viable options for late game replacements but why not? Domonic Brown can spell Ben Francisco during the season, Ross Gload can be a power lefty pinch hitter, late in the game and Mayberry can be a speedy replacement for Ibanez in the late innings. There may be some middle infielder who will be the other bench player, but right now you can expect Schneider as the backup catcher, Valdez as the backup infielder and 3 OF’s. But those 5 bench players leaves us with the thing that everyone wants to know and that’s who is in the bullpen for the Phillies.
Egh, the bullpen doesn’t look much different then it was last year, but that is a major improvement from what we are at this present moment. Ruben Amaro Junior needs to make a call to the pen and get JC and Chad back. Then promote from within with Antonio, who has actually suppose to be a regular in the pen except for he’s got hurt in ’09 and then being hurt and ineffective in 2010. Watch out though, in 20 games he had a 27:6 K/BB ratio and 4 runs surrendered in 17.1 IP. Both of those stats are really small sample sizes, I know, but it’s the offseason and we’re allowed some room to dream and hope that he will be a good lefty coming out center field. Here are some other names to look for over the season in the bullpen: Mike Zagurski, Scott Mathieson, David Herndon, Vance Worley, Andrew Carpenter and Sergio Escalona.
We’ll see what happens when the season comes, but this is what you can realistically expect from the Phills this year.
The Citizens Bankers