Diving into the depths: Philadelphia Phillies

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This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.
Philadelphia Phillies
Rotation
1. Roy Halladay
2. Cole Hamels
3. Joe Blanton
4. J.A. Happ
5. Jamie Moyer
6. Kyle Kendrick
7. Antonio Bastardo
8. Jose Contreras
9. Drew Carpenter
10. Ryan Vogelsong
11. Joe Savery
Barring the addition of Pedro Martinez or another veteran, Kendrick figures to hold down the fifth spot at the start of the year, since Moyer is going to be recovering from his surgeries. I feel a little bit better about that than I would have a year ago, mainly because he improved his groundball rate in Triple-A. Still, he doesn’t miss bats. Contreras would likely prove to be a superior option, but the Phillies signed him intending to use him in the pen.
Bullpen
1. Brad Lidge
2. Ryan Madson
3. Danys Baez
4. J.C. Romero
5. Chad Durbin
6. Jose Contreras
7. Antonio Bastardo
8. Sergio Escalona
9. Jamie Moyer
10. Kyle Kendrick
11. Mike Zagurski
12. Phillippe Aumont
13. Scott Mathieson
14. David Herndon
15. Ehren Wassermann
16. Ryan Vogelsong
17. Pat Overholt
18. Bill White
Six spots are spoken for, but only if Lidge (knee) and Romero (elbow) can return from their surgeries in time for Opening Day. The Phillies still figure to add another left-hander from a group that includes Joe Beimel and Alan Embree.


Catcher
1. Carlos Ruiz
2. Brian Schneider
3. Paul Hoover
4. Dane Sardinha
First base
1. Ryan Howard
2. Ross Gload
3. Andy Tracy
Second base
1. Chase Utley
2. Juan Castro
3. Placido Polanco
4. Cody Ransom
Third base
1. Placido Polanco
2. Greg Dobbs
3. Juan Castro
4. Cody Ransom
Shortstop
1. Jimmy Rollins
2. Juan Castro
3. Cody Ransom
4. Brian Bocock
The Phillies were aggressive in going after Castro, even though they really could have used someone better in a reserve role, particularly since they lost Jason Donald (in the Cliff Lee trade) as another potential fallback. Fortunately, Polanco is their only infielder with a spotty track record as far as health and even he’s played in 140 games in three straight seasons.
Left field
1. Raul Ibanez
2. Ben Francisco
3. John Mayberry Jr.
4. Ross Gload
5. Dewayne Wise
Center field
1. Shane Victorino
2. Ben Francisco
3. Dewayne Wise
4. Chris Duffy
Right field
1. Jayson Werth
2. Ben Francisco
3. John Mayberry Jr.
4. Ross Gload
5. Dewayne Wise
The outfield depth isn’t in question. Francisco would be a perfectly adequate regular at any of the three spots, and Mayberry would offer power off the bench if any starters go down. Assuming that everyone is healthy, Mayberry will return to Triple-A. The Phillies are set with a bench of Francisco, Gload, Dobbs, Castro and Schneider.

Theo Epstein named The World’s Greatest Leader

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Fortune Magazine has put out a list of The World’s Greatest Leaders. Not the greatest business leaders, not the greatest leaders in a given industry, but the Greatest Leaders, full stop. The greatest according to Fortune: The Cubs’ Theo Epstein.

For some context, Pope Francis was third. Angela Merkel was 10th. Lebron James was the next greatest sports leader, ranked 11th. Take Fortune’s methodology with a grain of salt, however, given that it has John McCain above Merkel — what, exactly, does he lead now? — and Samantha Bee in the top 20.

So what makes Theo the world’s best leader according to Fortune?

The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox.

I don’t want to take anything away from what Theo has done — he’s a Hall of Fame executive already in my view — but I feel like maybe one needs to adjust for the fact that this is a baseball team we’re talking about. They’re the whole world to us and their brands are nationally and even world famous, but as an organization, sports teams are rather small. There are guys who run reasonably-sized HVAC companies with more employees than a baseball team and they don’t get the benefit of an antitrust exemption and a rule which allows them to get their pick of the best new employees if they had a bad year the year before.

Really, not trying to throw shade here, just thinking that being the spiritual father for 1.2 billion Catholics or running a foundation that serves 55 million needy children — like the woman who comes in at number 14 — is a bit of a tougher trick.

But this will make a great framed magazine article on Theo’s wall in Wrigley Field.

 

 

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.