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Phillies, bench, bullpen and alternating notes with an emphasis on spring training

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The best bands are the ones that have anti-climactic spring training. The competition is good, but certainty is even more reassuring – especially when it comes to eight points in the lineup, four points in the turnover, and seven points in the bullpen. the Veles We want an anti-climate geyser because it means the plan worked. The entire camp, which begins February 16th, will be about 19-year-old Andrew Painter and his quest to defy schedules and win a spot on the rotation.

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What’s left of it?

“The innings off the bench are going to be exciting,” Phillies manager Rob Thompson said Wednesday. “There is probably another place in the game that we have to explore. It will be a deep camp.”

It’s a good thing that a significant amount of interest in the spring goes into a couple of bench positions. The Phillies had had much bigger problems on earlier springs. They also know the importance of building up useful depth; Last summer was proof enough.

But with a more secure depth chart, it may be more difficult for a team to convince a quality player to join them as a backup. There may be rackets at the beginning of the season Bryce Harper He continues his rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery. Once Harper returns, the Phillies have nine regular players for nine positions in the lineup. Injuries occur. There will be bats for reserves. It’s just that other teams can probably guarantee more of them in January than the Phillies can.

So, Adam Duvall She agreed to a $7 million deal to be Bostonquarterback. Kevin Pillar accepted a minor league deal that could pay $3 million Atlanta For there is a path toward him that sees time in left field for the brave. Brian Anderson She agreed to a $3.5 million deal with Milwaukeea team will manage a few platoons.

The Phillies could use another right hand reserve. They are weak among potential bench players – Garrett StubbsAnd Jake howDarrick Hall Cody Clemens And Simon Muziotti They are all left-handed batters. Edmund Sousa, the right hitter, can play anywhere in the field. So can Dalton Guthrie.

“I have great faith in Dalton Guthrie,” said Thompson. “I really… feel really good about our balance in our utility players.”

That could include Scott Kingery, who is in the final year of his $24 million six-year deal and will be in the big league camp. Phyllis might look like that. “Scotty is a very talented guy,” said Thompson. “He’s gotten on the side a little bit there a little bit. Maybe we can get him back and bring him back.” Left-handed hitter Will Tovey should see time in big league camp.

Even if the Phillies add a few right-handed hitters to their minor league contracts, the bench could be resolved later in the spring when teams make cuts. The Phillies have a surplus in their 40-man roster. They can trade from there for a bench bat – if they see fit.

There are different solutions to this. One of the most obvious is Hall.

“He has the potential to come out of camp with us, depending on how everything else breaks down,” Thompson said. “He’s done such a great job with Harp this past year that you can’t just toss him aside. He’s in the mix, for sure.”


Darek Hall (Katie Stratman / USA Today)

The difference that year makes

Guthrie had the rare distinction: He appeared in a postseason game before he was invited to big-league spring training. “I think I had three big-league batters in spring training,” Guthrie said. “So, I hope to get more this year.” he laughed.

only three? Hasn’t he come from Little League camp as a random friend before?

“I came in as a random person last year,” Guthrie said.

More laughter.

Guthrie, who is entering his seventh season in professional ball, actually made three appearances in the Grapefruit League in 2020. But no one remembers that spring.

Last spring, he broke through the first pitch he saw at a Grapefruit League game. He lost his putter. It flew over the protective netting above the Phillies dugout, hitting a guardrail and a apostate In a field square along the third baseline.

“That’s what we’ll be remembered for,” Guthrie said.

One reporter said he had no memory of that harmless bat in the eighth inning of a Grapefruit League game in March.

Well, that’s a good thing, I guess, said Guthrie.

The 27-year-old’s timing was fortunate. He would have been a minor league free agent at the end of 2022 had the Phillies not added him to their 40-man roster in September when they needed to fill a spot on the bench and injuries pushed Guthrie up the depth chart.

“I just kept going,” Guthrie said. “I just started trying to figure things out every day. I just knew if I kept playing hard you’d get a chance somewhere. I’m glad things worked out. But I’ve got a lot to work on. I’ve got a long way to go. I just have to keep going.” improvement.”

Bullpen Construction and Payroll Arbitration

Phillies own There is no shortage of candidates to close into the ninth inning, but Thompson again repeated his plan to run without a closer group.

“Unless someone steps in, and only he is completely in control,” he said.

Thomson wants to reserve the right to use his best reliever on a given night to take on the most challenging part of the opponent’s lineup. That spot may appear in the eighth inning. or the seventh inning. It worked in 2022, and the Phillies believe in their game planning infrastructure. They select the right matches more often than not.

Is the idea of ​​a “closer float” – as Thompson called it – hard to sell to reducers?

“That is if they don’t succeed,” Thompson said. “And it’s usually because we put them in the wrong place. If you put them in the right place and they hit, I think you’re good.”

Teams may be paying less for savings in free agency than ever before, but the savings are still important in salary arbitration. Traditional closing parties have a different set of antecedents in the arbitration process. It is usually a higher pay scale than the preparation exemption program.

So, it wasn’t surprising to see a gap earlier this month between the Phillies and two of their top treats. Cerancho Dominguez He asked $800,000 more ($2.9 million) from the Phillies ($2.1 million). Jose Alvarado It came in at $3.7 million, $500,000 on top of the Phillies’ record of $3.2 million.

Neither has been a full season closer in the majors. But, if teams are redefining how they handle saves, the Major League Baseball Players Association will seek better compensation for its elite, high-powered pitchers. Phillies receive guidance from MLBEmployment relations department affecting offers.

Many teams have switched to the “file and try” practice under MLB’s mandate. The Phillies have not been so rigid in the past; They settled in with the guys in the days leading up to the hearing. It could happen again next month with Dominguez and Alvarado.

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Ceranthony Dominguez (Kyle Ross / USA Today)

Alternate talk

An early candidate for an overrated spring story is how the Phillies will manage their pitchers’ workloads after a season that stretched into the first week of November. There are good reasons to watch some shooters. But it won’t change the way the Phillies treat their best camp arm. Appetizers will be extended as they usually do. There is a downside to being so conservative.

“Pitchers should stay away,” Thompson said. “I would hate to get out of camp — and we had (Aaron) a healthy Nola, Wheeler (Zach) Wheeler for six weeks — and they broke camp at 80 pitches. That’s not what we’re looking for. We’ll try to get them to a full pitch count so they don’t It has an impact on the game.”

The Phillies take precise measurements during nearly every sideline session that starting pitchers throw. They can detect inconsistencies in arm opening, rotation, and speed—and even compare them to a baseline for a routine game session, when the intensity differs from the real game movement. Teams are less focused on roles which count as a measure of workload.

Thompson has acknowledged that the club could rotate six players at times in 2023. This is something the team officials have discussed all off-season. It would have been a consideration even if the Phillies had not advanced to the World Series. The six-man mechanism is a way to keep Painter in the equation for a full major league season as he continues to adjust to the rigors of professional ball after just one full season in the minors.

The pitcher would be treated like any other pitcher in the camp: he would be expected to build his innings under a natural progression.

The way the Phillies view their rotation workload is no different than it was a season ago. Phillies starters ranked fifth in MLB in innings pitched. (Top seven teams in rotation roles – Al AstrosAnd GuardiansAnd sailorsAnd parentsPhillies, Braves W Yankees – It all made the postseason.)

But the Phillies had the sixth-fewest regular rest starts (four days) in all of baseball. They looked for every opportunity to manipulate the schedule to save time between starts. Nola, however, made 32 appearances.

Expect the Phillies to follow the same turnaround path in 2023.

(Top photo by Dalton Guthrie: David G. Phillip / Associated Press)

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