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.

Report: Marlins intent on adding a big-three reliever

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 28:  Aroldis Chapman #54 of the Chicago Cubs pitches in the 9th inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on July 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the White Sox 3-1.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
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The Marlins are intent on adding one of the three best relievers available on the free agent market, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. Those three, of course, are Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Mark Melancon.

As Ashley noted earlier, Melancon is reportedly fielding multiple four-year offers in excess of $60 million. The price tags for Chapman and Jansen are likely to match or exceed that. The Marlins haven’t typically been eager to whip out the checkbook for free agents but with the bullpen being the name of the game in baseball these days, GM Michael Hill may feel the need to match his rivals.

The Nationals, Giants, Yankees, Cubs, and Dodgers are the teams most often linked to the “big-three” group of relievers, so it won’t be easy for the Marlins.

A.J. Ramos handled the closer’s role for the Marlins this past season and did an admirable job, saving 40 games with a 2.81 ERA and a 73/35 K/BB ratio in 64 innings. There’s no doubt, though, that Chapman, Jansen, or Melancon would represent a significant upgrade in the ninth inning.

Bryan Price likely to use Raisel Iglesias, Tony Cingrani, and Michael Lorenzen in closer’s role

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Raisel Iglesias throws in the first inning of their opening day baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Monday, April 4, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
AP Photo/John Minchillo
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C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Reds manager Bryan Price is likely going to use a trio of pitchers in the closer’s role: Raisel Iglesias, Tony Cingrani, and Michael Lorenzen. At RedsFest on Saturday, Price said:

I’d say right now that we have a series of guys that I’m comfortable with in the ninth inning and that would include (Raisel) Iglesias, (Tony) Cingrani and (Michael Lorenzen). Should we stay with this format – which I intend to do – all three of those guys and maybe more could have opportunities in save situations. At this point in time, there’s no defined closer. There are multiple options and I’d like to stick with the philosophy that we’re going to have our multi-inning guys, so we’re going to need multi-closers.

This seems to be part of the new bullpen zeitgeist in which managers are shying away from strictly-defined roles for their relievers. Indians manager Terry Francona’s postseason success using Andrew Miller likely had some degree of influence on Price’s willingness to go with a three-headed giant.

Iglesias started the 2016 season in the Reds’ rotation but missed two months with an injury, then moved to the bullpen in late June. Price put him in the closer’s role down the stretch in September. The right-hander overall finished the season with a 2.53 ERA and an 83/26 K/BB ratio in 78 1/3 innings.

Cingrani battled control issues in his 63 innings of work this past season, finishing with a 4.14 ERA and a 49/37 K/BB ratio. He’s left-handed, though, and gives Price some matchup flexibility in the late innings.

Lorenzen impressed in his first full season as a reliever, ending the year with a 2.88 ERA and a 48/13 K/BB ratio in 50 innings. The right-hander uses a fastball that sits around 96 MPH on average along with a cutter and slider.