With Justin Bour placed on waivers last week and expected to latch on elsewhere, the Phillies now have 34 players on their 40-man roster. Gone are the midseason acquisitions like Bour, Asdrubal Cabrera, Wilson Ramos, Jose Bautista, Aaron Loup.
Tuesday is the deadline to protect Rule 5 draft-eligible players by adding them to the 40-man roster. For the Phillies, that will mean adding soon-to-be 22-year-old pitching prospect Adonis Medina, whose name came up in Manny Machado trade talks midway through 2018.
They could also add 22-year-old right-handed reliever Edgar Garcia to the 40. He excelled at Double A this past season with a 3.32 ERA and 10.3 strikeouts per nine, reaching Triple A for five games at the end of the season.
Here's a look at what is currently on the 40-man roster.
Catchers (2) — Jorge Alfaro, Andrew Knapp
It's hard to imagine the Phillies going into 2019 with this catching duo. Even if they don't bring back Ramos, the Phils need a catcher who can actually block the ball and prevent the wild pitches and passed balls that doomed them all season.
Knapp received 215 and 204 plate appearances the last two seasons. Barring a long-term injury to a catcher, it would be surprising to see him get 100 next season.
Infielders (6) — Carlos Santana, Cesar Hernandez, Scott Kingery, Maikel Franco, J.P. Crawford, Mitch Walding
Three obvious trade candidates in this group: Santana, Hernandez and Franco.
Like the last few offseasons, the Phillies will not give Hernandez away. Trading him now figures to be more complicated than ever, with Hernandez's salary rising and his production slipping last season.
A Franco trade makes sense for the Phillies only if it precedes or follows another third-base move. It would make little sense for the Phils to trade Franco just to play Crawford at third base. Nobody inside or outside the organization can feel totally comfortable with the idea of Santana playing several months worth of games at third.
Walding would obviously be the next to go when the Phils need to create roster space.
Outfielders (6) — Rhys Hoskins, Odubel Herrera, Roman Quinn, Nick Williams, Aaron Altherr, Dylan Cozens
Listing Hoskins here because as of this date, he'd still be penciled into playing left field. The Hoskins-in-LF experiment did not work, though, with him grading out as one of the majors' worst defensive left fielders in a decade.
It wouldn't be a big shock to see Herrera or even Williams traded this offseason if it improves the Phillies elsewhere. Roman Quinn was the Phils' best centerfielder in the second half of 2018 and deserves the inside track to that job as long as he can stay healthy throughout spring training. The defensive component matters a lot, as we saw game-in and game-out last year.
Altherr, despite the bad 2018 season, is worth keeping around because he's cost-controlled, won't fetch much of value on the trade market and could easily be closer to the 2017 version moving forward.
Right-handed pitchers (16) — Aaron Nola, Jake Arrieta, Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin, Vince Velasquez, Seranthony Dominguez, Pat Neshek, Tommy Hunter, Victor Arano, Hector Neris, Edubray Ramos, Luis Garcia, Jerad Eickhoff, Yacksel Rios, Enyel De Los Santos, Drew Anderson
Among last season's five main starting pitchers, Velasquez is the safest bet to be moved. With the Phillies expected to add at least one SP better than him, Velasquez will likely be in the bullpen on opening day if he's still in a Phillies uniform.
In the bullpen, the Phils could look to move one of Neshek or Hunter. It wasn't the most comfortable situation having them around last year. Neshek is clearly a top-notch reliever when he's able to pitch, but there are too many usage restrictions with him in a bullpen Gabe Kapler goes to early and often. Hunter's boisterous personality was met well by some and was taxing on others as the season wore on.
With the Phillies also expected to add bullpen pieces, Garcia's days could be numbered. Among their group of hard-throwing righties, Garcia was the least reliable in 2018. He's projected to make just under $2 million in 2019 through arbitration.
The most variance in this group belongs to Eickhoff, who could win a rotation job in spring training, win a job as the long man, or be sent packing as a piece in a trade.
Left-handed pitchers (4) — Luis Avilan, Austin Davis, Adam Morgan, Ranger Suarez
Obviously an area of need. Avilan's arbitration projection is just north of $3 million and the Phillies can probably find more bang for their buck.
Davis and Morgan are not lefty specialists.
There are some really good lefty relievers available like Zach Britton and Andrew Miller, but there's also the specialist route with someone like Tony Sipp.
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