Philadelphia Phillies: Spring Preview

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Mackanin and One of His Coaches Are Behind the Protective Fencing During a Spring Contest. Photo by Reinhold Matay – USA TODAY Sports.

By early March, the competition for jobs will be front and center in Clearwater, while the locals warm themselves with thoughts of summer baseball at the Bank, the home of the Philadelphia Phillies.

 

Spring Forward:  

The weather mirrors life in northeastern America: It alternates between cold and grey days to breezy and sunny afternoons.

On the surface, many players have a shot to make the 25-man roster, but the team knows the fate of most before day one of camp. And the reason is winning and rebuilding are both necessary for the manager and the GM: It influences their decision-making. In other words, the fine line is developing talent and avoiding defeats simultaneously in a world with only 30 jobs each for skippers and general managers.

To achieve their goals, the brass considers more than just March stats. They have pros like Clay Buchholz working on his arsenal, Jeremy Hellickson receiving veteran respect and Cameron Rupp returning as a regular after earning the spot last year. So, watching them won’t add any insight to the next 162. But keep in mind, seeing the acquisitions from the offseason will be noteworthy: General manager Matt Klentak picked up Buchholz, Pat Neshek, Howie Kendrick and Joaquin Benoit to compete with divisional rivals. And if all four work out, what will the GM’s praise be? Effusive.

IN OTHER WORDS:        

 “I’m probably the only guy who worked for (Casey) Stengel before and after he was a genius.” – Warren Spahn

At another site a week ago, Jim told another Phillies fan he will be going to Spring Training in a few months. And he wanted to know what to look for. Well, the other poster let him know where to focus his interest.

Like Jim, if you’re considering a week or so in Clearwater, what should you do? Go during the third week of exhibition contests. Players will have nine games under their belt, and you’ll see youngsters like J.P. Crawford. For now, though, Jim’s current thinking is March 5 to March 10, and he should stick with those dates if he can.

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