CLEARWATER, Fla. — With the first spring action scheduled for Thursday, it's time to reprise an annual exercise in futility.
Let's predict the Phillies' 25-man roster for opening day!
There are 37 exhibition games to be played between now and the first real game, April 3 in Cincinnati, so anything is possible. Return to this in five weeks and laugh at me. For now, talk among yourselves.
Nothing to see here, although it'll be interesting how the Phillies align their rotation. Hellickson is likely to receive the nod for Opening Day, so how about pushing Eickhoff to the home opener?
Pete Mackanin said Wednesday that, in an ideal scenario, the team will carry two lefthanded relievers. Rodriguez and Morgan happen to be the only two on the 40-man roster. Non-roster players such as Cesar Ramos and Sean Burnett could push their way onto the team with good springs. But the roster crunch is real here because the Phillies need space to add some non-roster position players.
The best spot for Knapp in 2017 is the majors; the coaching staff has spent considerable time with Knapp in the early part of spring. If he can play a little first base, along with some catching, they could find enough at-bats for him. Hanigan is here as a third catcher, which is unusual. The Phillies really want a veteran presence as guidance. (This could be Bryan Holaday, too.)
These are five locks, barring injury, for April 3. Trivia: Hernandez is the only holdover from the 2014 Opening Day roster.