Before I get to the new tidbit about the Phillies interest in Francisco Rosario, I wanted to dig into the construction of the 25 man roster a bit, as it was mentioned in depth in this mlb.com article. The article basically outlines the makeup of the Phillies opening day roster, barring any more unforeseen developments. If Jon Lieber starts the season on the DL, the two open spots in the bullpen will likely be filled by Clay Condrey and Jim Ed Warden. The two bench spots will likely be filled by Karim Garcia and Greg Dobbs, with Chris Coste being the odd man out, mainly due to logistics and his hamstring tweak. It also appears that Jason Jaramillo will stick with the team if Carlos Ruiz isn’t ready for opening day, and that Michael Bourn could stay up with the team for the first few games if Freddy Garcia starts the year on the DL, allowing the Phillies to carry an extra player.
So, are these the right decisions? First, I think keeping Condrey over Segovia might be a mistake. However, if Condrey is going to just be a mop-up guy, then I guess it’s understandable. Segovia is still young and still has some promise, Condrey is your typical AAAA pitcher who is easily replaceable. Warden, because he’s a Rule 5 guy, is a bit of a different case. He’s had some rough outings and some solid outings this spring. Again, my hope is that the Phillies work out a trade with Cleveland where they get to keep Warden and option him to the minors so he can get comfortable before being thrust into the majors. The Phillies should contend for the division from Day 1, they can’t afford to use a 24 man roster and just hide Warden for the season like they did with Fabio Castro last year. As for the outfield, I’d prefer they kept Bourn over Garcia, mainly because I don’t think Garcia is going to sustain any type of success in the majors over the course of the season. Then again, if Aaron Rowand is traded, which has been a rumor basically since the winter meetings, then Bourn will almost assuredly get a spot in the OF. Dobbs has performed well this spring and has almost been the 2007 version of Chris Coste. Hopefully the Phillies can catch lightning in a bottle for the second year in a row.
Also, according to the Inquirer, the Phillies had scouts at the Blue Jays game keeping an eye on RHP Francisco Rosario. Rosario is out of options, which means if he isn’t kept on the Blue Jays 25 man roster, he must clear waivers before being sent to the minors. Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus ranked Rosario as the Blue Jays #5 prospect, saying
The Good: Tommy John survivor thrived in a move to the bullpen at Triple-A and finally reached the majors after a minor-league career that was long in years, but consisted of less than 500 innings. Rosario’s velocity is the best in the system, sitting at 93-95 mph and touching 98. As a reliever, his other primary pitch is a hard slider with good depth.
So, there is some talent there. Rosario, who turned 26 in June, has been slowed down with injuries, and as noted above, Tommy John surgery, hence him being out of options before he’s really made a mark at the big league level. He proved to be fairly unhittable at AAA last season, allowing only 29 hits in 42 innings, while striking out 50 and walking 13. He also kept the ball in the park, allowing only 2 HR, and posted a 50:28 GB to FB ratio. His big league debut wasn’t very good, largely because he allowed 16 walks in only 23 innings, but we can write that off to nerves and adjustment.
Rosario is a guy that can probably step right into the major league bullpen, and might be a better option going forward than a guy like Warden or Condrey, but the question is going to be what will it cost. With so many teams starving for arms, he surely won’t clear waivers, so the Phillies would need to make a deal for him. Stay tuned.
UPDATE ——> Per delewareonline, the Phillies released Karim Garcia. That puts an interesting twist on things, and could clear the way for Bourn as the 5th OF, or could assure Coste of a spot on the roster.
UPDATE 2 —-> The Jim Ed Warden experiment has ended, as he was re-claimed by the Indians today.