I'm not sure why there has been such a major posting lull on the HC, but that needs to change. With pitcher/catchers reporting today, it is the perfect time to discuss some roster battles
Recently, the Phillies have preferred to carry 7 relief pitchers and 5 bench players. The following players are all but guaranteed roster spots: Scheinder, Wigginton, Nix, Thome, Papelbon, Qualls, Bastardo, Kendrick. Presumably, that leaves 1 bench spot open and 3 relief spots open. The ratio obviously changing if the Phils decide to go with an extra bench player. Presumably, Ryan Howard will start the season on the DL, leading directly to a Wigginton/Nix/Thome/Mayberry platoon at 1st and an additional bench spot opening up. The favorite for at least one of those spots has to be Mini-Mart Michael Martinez. None of the above mentioned options can play SS, and someone is going to have to. Look for some competition from Pete Orr, but it would be a shocker, barring another roster move, to see Martinez left off the 25-man roster. The other spot will presumably go to Juan Pierre to play the 5th OF's role, with competition from Scott Podsednik. The bullpen competition will largely depend on health and spring training performance. Contreras, with his guaranteed salary and strong track record will certainly be guaranteed one of the 3 spots if healthy. Dontrelle Willis is on non-guaranteed contract, but will also be the primary favorite to be the 2nd lefty out of the pen. That would leave 1 player fighting for the last spot: David Herndon, who was dominant in the 2nd half last year but seems to have fallen out of favor with the team is a possibility. Mike Stutes faded down the stretch but was one of the top arms last year and probably is the favorite, but needs a strong spring. Rookies De Fratus, Schwimmer, Savery, and Aumont could all sneak in with a monster spring.