Wednesday, the Phillies took part in one of MLB's on-the-fly adjustments to the 2020 season, a 7-inning doubleheader.
Thursday brings another. On Thursday, teams will have to trim their rosters from 30 players to 28. Rosters will remain at 28 players for the rest of the regular season and postseason, according to multiple national reports.
This is a different process than MLB laid out prior to the season, when the plan was to have teams trim from 30 to 28 after two weeks and then from 28 to 26 after another two weeks. The change is a response to how MLB's first two weeks have gone, with the Phillies, Marlins and Cardinals all sitting entire weeks because of COVID-related concerns. (Unlike the other two teams, the Phillies sat despite none of their players testing positive.)
When the Phillies make their two roster moves Thursday, they'll have played only six games and will have had far less of an opportunity than most of the league to declare which two players on their 30-man roster are most expendable.
The Phillies have carried 16 pitchers and 14 position players to this point. It is likely that one cut will come from the bullpen and one from the bench. The Phillies' schedule moving forward — 56 games in 54 days beginning Wednesday — and the presence of the DH lessening bench usage would seem to make it more worthwhile for the Phils to keep 15 pitchers.
The Phillies' five bench players are Roman Quinn, Andrew Knapp, Phil Gosselin, Neil Walker and Kyle Garlick.
Knapp, the backup catcher, isn't going anywhere.
Quinn is one-half of a centerfield timeshare (at least until someone seizes the job, which Adam Haseley may be doing) and is almost certainly staying put as well. Even if Haseley wins the job outright early this season, Quinn has bench value as a defensive replacement and pinch-runner.
Walker is a switch-hitter who can play five different positions, which is also valuable off the bench.
Gosselin is too hot offensively to lose right now.
The position player on the bubble is probably Garlick, a corner outfielder with pop and an ability to hit lefties. Garlick, who has options left and could be sent to Lehigh Valley without being removed from the 40-man roster, made his first start as a Phillie in Game 1 of Wednesday's doubleheader, batting ninth as the designated hitter.
In the bullpen, it's still too early to make out a clear hierarchy. It could be Austin Davis or Cole Irvin, who are clearly behind Jose Alvarez and Adam Morgan among Phillies lefties. Davis did himself no favors by allowing four runs and four hits in one-third of an inning Wednesday. It could be Ramon Rosso, who was erratic in his first and only appearance so far this season. The Phillies' lack of right-handed velocity in the bullpen could keep him around, though. The Phillies have played so few games to this point that a reliever could potentially separate himself with a strong showing in the doubleheader.
Stay tuned Thursday.