The Phillies web site reported last night that Gavin Floyd will most likely be the Phillies fifth starter. There have never been any plans to have Floyd move to the bullpen, so his options have either been start for the Phillies or start for the Red Barons. The announcement yesterday stated that he would stay on the Phillies roster while Brito and Tejeda would be sent down; thus one can only assume Floyd won the final spot. No official announcement has been made by the Phillies but as the hours to Opening Day count down Manuel is likely to name both his final rotation and Monday’s starter by this weekend. "We’re not talking," said Manuel, who made the decision on Tuesday but has chosen to keep it a secret.
Floyd of course came into spring training with little chance to make the roster due to his dreadful performance last season. But apparently low expectations make it easy to impress. According to Manuel, "He exceeded my expectations, because he wasn’t a guy who would’ve even been considered for somewhere in the pitching staff." Gavin is 4-0 in six games this spring with a 2.08 ERA, 15 strikeouts and 7 walks.
This news of course begs the question: who will be demoted to the bullpen, Ryan Franklin or Ryan Madson? Madson has had a similarly excellent spring going 2-0 in five games though Franklin has pitched well himself. The inside track though belongs to Franklin who will likely fulfill Madson’s old role as setup man for the setup man (i.e. 7th inning work). Many have questioned Franklin’s ability to seriously improve the Phillies rotation so a bullpen spot might seem a better fit. As for Floyd, it’s always a good idea to keep a hot player playing, so I am glad he is getting another chance. However his success in spring training will not cancel out his previously dismal stints in the big leagues. Therefore Manuel and Rich Dubee will have some close observing to do as Floyd will likely be on a short lease. There’s nothing like a little pitching controversy to kick this season off right!
Other roster moves to note: Ricardo Rodriguez was released, Danny Sandoval was optioned to the minors, and Chris Booker was put on the 15-day DL with right-knee inflammation. Chris Coste, Tomas Perez, and Chris Roberson are still looking to secure the final spot on the roster; unless, as stated before, the Phils pick up a veteran left-handed bat to come off the bench.
UPDATE: It’s official! From Phillies.com: Manuel made official on Thursday what had been speculated for the past 24 hours: Gavin Floyd and Ryan Madson earned the final two spots in the rotation, and Ryan Franklin will work the seventh inning out of the bullpen. "[Gavin] earned it and can help us," Manuel said. "He’s getting a chance. And he can get [beat up] and still get another chance. He’s going to hold his own. I think he’s going to be pretty good. He’s getting a good chance to establish himself in the Major Leagues.