Here is your new spot for spring training prospect chatter. As always, check out the blueclaws blog, which has good coverage of the minor league ST games, and also be sure and watch for updates from Dave and Gregg from Clearwater.
One note and topic for discussion. In the limited looks I’ve seen of Michael Martinez, I think he’s going to make the 25 man roster. He can play 2B, SS, 3B and the OF positions. He’s not a world beater and doesn’t have a ton of upside, but his versatility should prove quite useful. Unlike the NRIs like Young and Barfield, Martinez can’t be optioned or re-assigned to the minors, and would have to be offered back to Washington. His speed and defensive flexibility should make him a nice fit, as the Phillies currently do not have anyone on their projected bench who would steal even 15-20 bases per season. With the Luis Castillo signing, Martinez might be part of a numbers game, but I think a spot is still there for him to take. On the Castillo signing, by the way, I’m a huge fan. Its a non-guaranteed minor league deal. If the Phillies like what they see, they add him to the 25 man roster and pay him $414K this season, with the Mets on the hook for the rest. If they determine he is in fact done, then they cut him and they owe him a very nominal amount of money. For a team with a $160+ million payroll, taking a risk like this is a no-brainer. Castillo had a fluky bad 2010 season, in terms of his batted ball data. He still draws walks and still makes contact. That’s the extent of his skill set right now, but he does come with extensive major league experience. The Mets apparently didn’t like his attitude/body language. To be fair to Castillo, if I was stuck on that team, I’d probably be pretty miserable too. The Phillies risk nothing here, but it probably means they didn’t feel Young or Barfield were a great bet to just step in and play every day.
I’d project the Phillies roster as such, with Martinez making the team
C: Ruiz, Schneider
INF: Howard, Castillo, Rollins, Polanco, Valdez, Martinez
OF: Ibanez, Victorino, Francisco, Gload, Mayberry
The Phillies could, of course, carry only 11 pitchers, which would make an awful lot of sense given the likelihood of their starters eating up a ton of innings and lessening the need for a long reliever, but that doesn’t seem likely. If they do carry 11 pitchers, either Young or Barfield could make the roster.