Monday Round Table (2/19): Spring Training Is Here
Today is the first day of full squad workouts in Clearwater. That means the winter is over and baseball can begin, or at least something like that. With that in mind I asked the writers for some roster predictions and other questions heading into a week of stretching and drills.
Who will be the Phillies #5 starter?
Adam: I really hope it’ll be Nick Pivetta because that means someone else has slotted in above him. I’m still, perhaps somewhat foolishly, holding out hope the Phillies will sign Jake Arrieta to a four-year, $22.5M AAV deal with a player option and incentives. If they don’t, then I suppose I’ll put money on Ben Lively, who somehow became a quality start machine even though he can’t strike out anybody.
Brad: I am rooting for Zach Eflin. Mostly because of that time I incorporated like 15 High School Musical song titles into a post about him.
Matt: I am going to go Zach Eflin. I want to believe that the Phillies will make another rotation upgrade, but given their inaction to this point I just have zero confidence. When it comes to the internal competition, Eflin has the better raw stuff and I think if they aren’t going to go outside the organization for help they at least go upside in it.
Spring Training is all small sample size, but for which player is having a good camp the most important?
Adam: It’s unusual to say this about an established major leaguer, but it would be great if Maikel Franco could put together a quality spring. I’m not holding my breath. He looked awful last year. As far as down-roster types, I guess it comes down to Pedro Florimon versus Adam Rosales to battle it out for the Andres Blanco spot.
Brad: Jes Valentin for “important for his job” and Vince Velasquez for “important for his arb case that he is a starter”.
Matt: Jake Thompson enters camp behind Ben Lively and Zach Eflin in a competition for a job that might not exist. He has Eshelman, Taveras, De Los Santos, Irvin, and Anderson right behind him, and Hutchison’s addition adds yet another arm to the mix. The bullpen situation is just as crowded, so Thompson is going to have to show some sign of life to even have a job in the organization.
Who wins the backup catcher job between Knapp and Rupp?
Adam: I will riot if it’s not Knapp (I mean, obviously I won’t actually riot, but I’ll send angry tweets). What does Cameron Rupp do for you at this stage of organizational development? Let it go.
Brad: I feel like Knapp is going to win the job, but if Rupp has a good Spring too, they could try to deal either of them. I’d prefer to keep Knapp no matter how well Rupp plays, really.
Matt: I think Rupp wins it because they would rather that Knapp get regular work, polishing his defense in AAA. Rupp is a finished product and as long as Kapler keeps him stabled to the bench behind Alfaro I won’t mind. Knapp is the better player long term and I hope the organization recognizes that.
Who will be the one surprise player on the 25 man roster?
Brad: Jimmy Rollins.
You have to admit, that would be surprising.
How about Mitch Walding? For real. That’s My guess.
Is there a member of the opening day roster not in the organization yet?
Adam: Jake Arrieta! (see above)
Brad: I hope there is a pitcher, but I think probably they’ll stand with this group on Opening Day and continue to pursue free agents and hope a deal they like falls in their lap.
Matt: I am on record now as saying the Phillies don’t make a move for a pitcher, which is slightly disappointing. I don’t see a move elsewhere given the internal options they have.