Phillies: The interesting, non-roster invitee battle to come

MIAMI, FLORIDA - AUGUST 01: Neil Walker #18 of the Miami Marlins in action against the Minnesota Twins at Marlins Park on August 01, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - AUGUST 01: Neil Walker #18 of the Miami Marlins in action against the Minnesota Twins at Marlins Park on August 01, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Scott Kingery #4 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Scott Kingery #4 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

Some of the Other NRIs

How about the other non-roster invitees in the Phillies camp? Again, this is all quite speculative, and a detailed comparison like the one above for first basemen may never come into play because of a given NRI’s performance in the first two weeks of spring training.

More from Call to the Pen

However, two players to look for making the team, assuming no February or March injury and reasonable performances, are the youngest and oldest of the players the Phillies have signed to minor league contracts, Ronald Torreyes and Francisco Liriano, respectively.

Torreyes, who will be entering his age-27 season, is a former Yankee like Girardi, a sparkplug entertainer as a player, and has, additionally, a counterintuitive advantage in his size (5-foot-8, 151). Bear with me on this: The front runner utilitymen on minor league deals in the Phillies camp will be Walker (who could replace other players than Hoskins), Torreyes, Josh Harrison, and Phil Gosselin.

Now let’s assume that either Jean Segura or Scott Kingery falters out of the gate, or even as late as June, wherever they’re playing. I’d suggest that Phillies GM Klentak doesn’t want to hear anybody suggesting either of those players be traded. Either trade would be embarrassing. But in Torreyes, you have a guy whose stature fairly screams “backup dude.”

I can imagine the discussion. “Joe,” Klentak could say, “look, let’s address that later. We kept Ronnie in no small part because he hit .281 in the Bronx. Pressure, right? He’s doing a good job, and we can continue to work with Scottie/Jean.” He doesn’t want to be debating about Harrison, particularly, a 185-pound former All-Star.

As for Liriano, his making the team depends on a spring demonstration that he still has some ammunition in his age-36 arm, but if that appears to be true, he could be a valuable left-handed arm out of the bullpen. It came late in his career, but in his age-35 season he finally, firmly, became a relief pitcher, appearing in almost 70 games, and for the first time in his career, making no starts.

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In spite of his age, Liriano maintained a 3.47 ERA and struck out almost two batters for every one walked.