With the remaining spots on the active 25 for the Phillies up for grabs, decisions will occur after general manager Matt Klentak considers the recommendations from his skipper and coaches, but the GM will make the final determinations.
Ifs and whys:
Because each pro will make his case for Opening Day on the Philadelphia Phillies, management will address organizational concerns based on March’s results. Pitchers and hitters at the highest plateau understand the expectations, the business requirements, and spring-training auditions.
IN OTHER WORDS:
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas A. Edison
Aside from the rotation, Klentak will review the pluses and minuses of eight players for the 25th slot. Will it be a hurler who works multiple innings, a switch-hitter, a rookie or a versatile fielder who can handle shortstop and center field?
A five-man bench usually includes a backup catcher and four reserves to pinch hit, enter the contest during a double switch or as a defensive replacement. However, the Phils have four outfielders and a second receiver so that they could add three utility players.
Carrying 12 moundsmen offers enough flexibility typically but can leave one part of the game vulnerable. For the red pinstripes, a long man is a missing piece, but three are in camp. Yes, the signing of Jake Arrieta could change that equation.
If Klentak goes with an eighth reliever, Mark Leiter, the favorite, had success in 2017 as a long man and spot starter. Additionally, the right-hander has six pitches: a 90-mph fastball, a slider, a curveball, a cutter, a changeup and a splitter: Three must be accurate per contest for success.
Jake Thompson, another bullpen piece, has recently thrown back-to-back outings for multiple frames, but he’ll need more than just those notable appearances to overtake Leiter. So, Thompson could handle long relief with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
Even though righty Drew Hutchison has been capable as a long man, he is strictly a backup plan. And Klentak will probably let him pursue other major league opportunities instead of a return to Triple-A.
Lefty Fernando Abad was effective in the pen for the Boston Red Sox last season. However, he hasn’t pitched since March 3 for the big club. Minor league innings? In other words, he can’t be a left-handed plan B if he doesn’t earn it.