There’s still time for the Phillies to change their mind before playoff rosters are due, but all indications are that they’ll go with 11 pitchers and 14 position players.
Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports that David Herndon and Joe Blanton are likely competing for the final bullpen spot and Domonic Brown will not be on the roster as an extra outfielder, instead heading to an instructional league to stay ready in case the Phillies need him later on.
Herndon has thrown 56 innings with a 3.38 ERA, but his strikeout-to-walk ratio and home run rate are both far less impressive than his ERA and Blanton has looked pretty solid as a reliever since coming off the disabled list.
What’s interesting about the Phillies’ apparent decision to carry an 11th pitcher instead of Brown is that teams rarely use more than eight or nine pitchers in the playoffs, because the rotation shrinks from five to three or four and the setup men and closers take nearly all of the bullpen work. Philadelphia’s excellent starting pitching makes them even less likely to need all those extra arms.
The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that the club signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $4 million contract.
Mathis, 33, isn’t much with the stick as he owns a career .197/.254/.308 triple-slash line over parts of 12 seasons in the majors. The veteran, though, is well-regarded for his ability to play defense, call games, handle a pitching staff, and get along with his teammates in the clubhouse. As Craig mentioned last year, Mathis is often talked about as a future manager.
The D-Backs non-tendered Welington Castillo on Friday, so Chris Herrmann and Mathis are the team’s two catchers as presently constructed.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent shortstop Jimmy Rollins wants to continue playing in 2017.
Rollins, 38, signed a minor league deal with the White Sox for the 2016 season but hit a disappointing .221/.295/.329 over 166 plate appearances. The club released Rollins in the middle of June and he did not sign with a new team. He did join TBS as part of their playoff coverage.
Rollins is almost certainly looking at another minor league contract and will have to earn his way onto a major league roster by performing well in spring training.