Saturday, September 19, 2009

Roster Roulette

Could two Phillies who provided memorable images from the 2008 postseason find themselves on the outside looking in during the 2009 postseason? Philly-area native Jamie Moyer, who celebrated the team's title by digging up the pitching rubber, and big-swinging, Los Angeles Dodger-beating Matt Stairs could easily be bypassed when the Phillies choose their postseason roster.

The team simply has too much talent for 25 spots. That's a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless.

The Phillies have 12 position players that appear to be locks: Ruiz, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Feliz, Ibanez, Victorino, Werth, Francisco, Dobbs, and defensive backups Bruntlett and Bako.

There are 9 pitchers that seem to be safe: Lee, Hamels, Blanton, Martinez, Happ, Lidge, Myers, Madson, and Durbin.

That leaves 4 spots for 9 likely candidates, by my count: Moyer, Eyre, Romero, Condrey, Park, Walker, Stairs, Cairo, and Kendrick. The injury/recovery status of Eyre, Romero, Condrey, and Park will affect the decision.

Walker's strong outings have made the decision even tougher for the Phillies brass. He has appeared in six games in September--among the bullpen leaders--and has a 1.93 ERA since his June call-up.

The decision on Moyer and Stairs could be the team's toughest. Happ's emergence this season could make Moyer's role in a postseason bullpen redundant. And Stairs has slumped for large stretches of the season; still, he's a lefthanded bat off the bench.

Last season, the team kept 11 pitchers on the postseason roster. If they keep 12 this year, it would seem likely to be the 9 definites plus Walker, Eyre, and likely Romero. That would leave the 12 position player definites, plus perhaps Stairs. Or will the Phillies keep 13 pitchers (Moyer?) and 12 position players?

In the absence of a N.L. East challenger, the postseason roster dilemma may be the most compelling question this September for the Phillies.

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