A Too Early Look at the 25-Man Roster: Seventh Reliever

With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Clearwater on February 13th–one short week from now–it is certainly early to look forward to which 25 players will emerge from Spring Training as members of the Phillies Opening Day roster. Two weeks ago, we looked at the locks to break camp with the Major League club. Last week, we began looking at the actual roster battles that could emerge over the next two months. We’ll conclude that series this week.

Previous installments:

Pitching (Locks)

Infield (Locks)

Outfield (Locks)

Backup Catcher

Lefty Reliever

Fifth Outfielder Continue reading…

A Too Early Look at the 25-Man Roster: Fifth Outfielder Battle

With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Clearwater on February 13th–one short week from now–it is certainly early to look forward to which 25 players will emerge from Spring Training as members of the Phillies Opening Day roster. Two weeks ago, we looked at the locks to break camp with the Major League club. Last week, we began looking at the actual roster battles that could emerge over the next two months. We’ll conclude that series this week.

Previous installments:

Pitching (Locks)

Infield (Locks)

Outfield (Locks)

Backup Catcher

Lefty Reliever

Candidates

With four outfield spots essentially on lockdown with the starting outfield of Odubel Herrera, Michael Saunders, and Howie Kendrick and Aaron Altherr likely to make the team as a fourth outfielder, the Phillies will be looking to find a fifth outfielder out of the remaining candidates in camp.

Those include two non-roster invites in Chris Coghlan and Daniel Nava, who have both, at various points in their careers, have had success in the major leagues. They are joined by Roman Quinn, who was impressive in his September major league debut, but could potentially benefit more from the regular playing time that would be afforded him at Lehigh Valley than a bit role against major leaguers as a fifth outfielder. Continue reading…

Phillies Avoid Arbitration with Cesar Hernandez

The Phillies reached a contract agreement with Cesar Hernandez Friday afternoon to avoid an arbitration hearing, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. With the deal, Hernandez is set to make $2.55 million in 2017.

This is Hernandez’s first exposure to arbitration due to his Super 2 status. The $2.55 million figure is near midpoint of the figures the two sides exchanged last month when they were unable to reach an agreement before the deadline to avoid scheduling a hearing. The Phillies filed for $2.0 million while Hernandez and his representation filed for $2.8 million. Prior to the offseason, MLB Trade Rumors–which is usually pretty good at estimating arbitration figures–predicted Hernandez would earn $2.55 million. In short, nothing out of the ordinary to see here. Continue reading…

Crash Bag, Vol. 5: Wing Bowl, Ice Cream, and Conception

Congratulations, everyone! We’ve nearly made it through the 2016-17 offseason. This marks the first Crash Bag of February and, therefore, the first Crash Bag of my doing in a month where baseball players will do baseball things wearing their teams’ uniforms. The darkness is almost lifted on the offseason, but we have some dark questions to bring us back down to earth, starting with a biggie.

@Chet_Youbetcha: Which current player would win wing bowl? Who would be the most fun to attend with? Any wing bowl mail bag discussion would be neat.

I had the misfortune of attending Wing Bowl a couple years ago, I believe it was 2014. At the time, I worked with Skin and Bones, a local fixture on the Wing Bowl scene. A couple of us took off work that day and went to see him eat wings. I knew, generally, what Wing Bowl was, and was ready to feel out of place and be constantly appalled by my fellow attendees. But, that abstract distaste was nothing compared the the actual disgust I felt during the two or three hours I was in the Wells Fargo Center. Continue reading…

Phillies Sign Chris Coghlan

It is difficult to muster enthusiasm for a player on a minor league contract. As to the selection of a team’s fifth outfielder, it is much the same. Today, then, the Phillies doubled down on unexciting in the minor league signing of Chris Coghlan, who will come to Spring Training with aspirations of netting one of the remaining bench slots on the roster.

Continue reading…

Who Are You: Joaquin Benoit

This post is part of a weekly series which will run each Thursday. Over the next several weeks, I’ll take a deep dive look at new members of the Phillies roster. We’re just a couple months away from settling down to watch these guys day-in and day-out for half a year, so let’s try to find out who they are and what to expect from them in 2017.

Previous Installments:

Howie Kendrick

Pat Neshek


Joaquin Benoit – RHP

Born: 7/26/1977 – entering age-39 season

Height: 6’4” Weight: 250 lb.

2016: 48 IP, 3.90 ERA, 25.5 K%, 11.8 BB%, 150 ERA+

MLB Career: 1018.1 IP, 3.79 ERA, 23.6 K%, 9.7 BB%, 117 ERA+

Contract Status: Signed to one-year, $7.5 million contract Continue reading…

A Too Early Look at the 25-Man Roster: Lefty Reliever Battle

With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Clearwater on February 13th–three short weeks from now–it is certainly early to look forward to which 25 players will emerge from Spring Training as members of the Phillies Opening Day roster. Last week, we looked at the locks to break camp with the Major League club. That brings us to this week and next where we’ll turn to potential roster battles in the final two weeks before pitchers and catchers report.

Previous installments:

Pitching (Locks)

Infield (Locks)

Outfield (Locks)

Backup Catcher

With Andrew Knapp “winning” the backup catcher job Monday, we’re down to the final four spots on our predicted Opening Day roster. Continue reading…

A Too Early Look at the 25-Man Roster: Backup Catcher Battle

With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Clearwater on February 13th–three short weeks from now–it is certainly early to look forward to which 25 players will emerge from Spring Training as members of the Phillies Opening Day roster. Last week, we looked at the locks to break camp with the Major League club. That brings us to this week and next where we’ll turn to potential roster battles in the final two weeks before pitchers and catchers report.

Previous installments:

Pitching (Locks)

Infield (Locks)

Outfield (Locks)

Through the first part of this series, we identified 20 players who are, for practical purposes, guaranteed to be on the Phillies 25-man Opening Day roster. The composition of that is as follows:

Starting Pitchers (5): Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, Jeremy Hellickson, and Clay Buchholz

Relief Pitchers (5): Hector Neris, Jeanmar Gomez, Pat Neshek, Joaquin Benoit, Edubray Ramos

Infielders (6): Cameron Rupp, Tommy Joseph, Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis, Maikel Franco, Andres Blanco

Outfielders (4): Odubel Herrera, Michael Saunders, Howie Kendrick, Aaron Altherr

That leaves battles for the last five spots on the team in the following roles: Backup catcher, bullpen lefty, last bullpen spot, and two bench bats. We’ll start today with an examination of the roster battle for backup catcher.

The Candidates:

Realistically, the Phillies have three catchers in camp who could conceivably make the team as Cameron Rupp’s backup. While it’s fun to dream on Jorge Alfaro showing up, having a Spring Training like Maikel Franco’s last year, and forcing his way onto the roster, that isn’t going to happen. Alfaro is only entering his age-24 season (which is young for a catcher, developmentally) and, aside from his brief MLB debut in September, has never played above AA. He’ll start the season in AAA with the potential for a mid-season call if everything goes well.

That leaves three catchers in the mix: Andrew Knapp, Ryan Hanigan, and Bryan Holaday. Our preview will only focus on them. Continue reading…

Crash Bag, Vol. 4: Hatred, Presidents, and Survivorship

As we all sit around–eyes wide and mouths hanging open with drool making its way on to our nice shirts–watching the current state of discourse in this country what with their alternative facts, obsession with crowd size–which definitely is a metaphor for the same thing hand size was in the primaries–and multi-billion dollar walls, we need a break with talk of things that don’t remotely matter. In that spirit, I bring you the Crash Bag, where the facts are already alternative. Period.

@Matt_Winkelman: Who is your least favorite current Phillie?

In years past, this would be such an easy question to answer that it wouldn’t earn a place in the Crash Bag. Ah, who am I kidding; of course it would appear in the Bag! For the record, for the past three years or so, any answer besides Cody Asche, Jonathan Papelbon (when around), or Darin Ruf would be totally unacceptable. Continue reading…

Who Are You: Pat Neshek

This post is part of a weekly series which will run each Thursday. Over the next several weeks, I’ll take a deep dive look at new members of the Phillies roster. We’re just a couple months away from settling down to watch these guys day-in and day-out for half a year, so let’s try to find out who they are and what to expect from them in 2017.

Previous Installments:

Howie Kendrick


Pat Neshek – RHP

Born: 9/4/1980 – entering age-36 season

Height: 6’3″ Weight: 220 lb.

2016: 47.0 IP, 3.06 ERA, 23.2 K%, 6.0 BB%, 130 ERA+

MLB Career: 383.1 IP, 2.93 ERA, 24.5 K%, 7.8 BB%, 137 ERA+

Contract Status: Final year of a three-year, $18.5 million contract. Owed $6.5 million in 2017. Continue reading…