Roster Evaluation: Promote Mayberry, Demote Happ (For Now) – Phillies Nation

Roster Evaluation: Promote Mayberry, Demote Happ (For Now)

This weekend I witnessed three of the more telling spring games featuring our favorite Phillies. Sunday it was an all-cameras, filled-to-the-brim venture against the Cardinals that shone the spotlight on Chase Utley and almost all the regulars. Monday it was a Bronx Bomber beatdown in the concrete calamity that is Steinbrenner Field. And Tuesday it was a shamrock-shake of a blowout against the Red Stockings, back at the House.

Usually St. Patrick’s Day is the right time to take stock of the spring messages, cull some sort of argument about the team’s 25-man roster and its goals for the year ahead.

The goal is very simple: There was nothing in these three days that indicated the Phils couldn’t be a heavyweight contender in 2009. Yes, Virginia, there is a certain chance the Phils can successfully defend their commissioner’s trophy. And anything less than a third-consecutive playoff berth is failure.

But the roster isn’t simple. There are mixes and mashups flung all over the place. Could this guy return? What about his status? Oh, and then there’s the ace, Mr. Everything’s OK … but we might not make it for Jon Miller, Joe Morgan and Steve Phillips. He might need a couple days more.

Still, as I wrap my head around an exhausting and thrilling four-day sojourn through the land of grapefruit, I come to my — as of March 18 — conclusive Phillies roster idea.

The 25-Man Roster

Carlos Ruiz
Ronny Paulino

Ruiz is the everyday starter, a shoo-in for a 25-man spot. Paulino is another story. The 27-year-old has performed OK this spring (.350 OBP, .471 SLG) while incumbent Chris Coste has yet to record a GFL hit. Moreover, Coste poses some trade bait for a team seeking veteran catching. Paulino seems ready to step in behind Ruiz.

Ryan Howard
Chase Utley
Pedro Feliz
Jimmy Rollins
Greg Dobbs
Eric Bruntlett
Pablo Ozuna

Howard is bashing but still swinging and missing. Utley and Feliz both look on point for April 5, and that’s more a miracle than if Howard were to creep back into the .280 neighborhood. Rollins may be having the best spring of any Phillie, as he’s regularly providing big hits and defense in high-pressure situations for his USA WBC team. Dobbs is Dobbs and has a cemented spot. Bruntlett has performed well (.449 OBP leads eligible Phils) in all facets. Ozuna makes the team as a 14th hitter — he’s tearing it up this spring, has power and eye and can play multiple positions. Might be interesting to see which of he or Bruntlett can hang longer.

Raul Ibanez
Shane Victorino
Jayson Werth
Geoff Jenkins
John Mayberry Jr.

Ibanez has been a nice change of pace at the plate, and I love his hit-to-all-fields style. Victorino is a shoo-in. Werth, too, and he looks ready to go. I still hold faith in Jenkins and think he’ll provide the power necessary off the bench. Mayberry makes the squad out of all the utility battlers — he has power and speed, glove and size, and no more time in triple-A will cut down on his strikeouts. He’s too toolsy to keep down.

Starting Pitchers
Cole Hamels
Brett Myers
Jamie Moyer
Joe Blanton
Chan Ho Park

Hamels should be ready by mid-April at the very latest. And that’s fine. Myers has been tremendous and his latest start was outstanding. Moyer: Steady as she goes. Blanton, too. Park beats Happ because he’s a focused and experienced righty with rejuvenated stuff (the changeup courtesy Mr. Moyer) and a real sense of place. He’s the right guy to start 2009.

Relief Pitchers
Brad Lidge
Ryan Madson
Chad Durbin
Scott Eyre
Clay Condrey
Gary Majewski

Lidge, Madson, Durbin, Eyre and Condrey seem poised to start in the bullpen. I’m going with carrying 11 pitchers, and Majewski (not Happ) is my final piece. So far Majewski has shown to be an experienced out-creating pitcher who can rattle off multiple innings if necessary. Look for more Condrey to start the season, too. Happ will be on the 25-man, but should get starters’ innings in Lehigh Valley until one of the starters east breaks or fails (which will happen).

Optioned/Assigned to Lehigh Valley

Lou Marson

Marson hasn’t show much offensive prowess this spring, but he’ll be ready for a 2010 starting competition. This is the year he acclimates himself to big-time pitching, improving his power along the way.


Jason Donald
Mike Cervenak
Marcus Giles
Miguel Cairo
Andy Tracy
JJ Furmaniak

Cervenak, Furmaniak and Tracy already received the cut. They could be released at any point. Giles might want to scout other clubs, too, but so far this spring he hasn’t brought his best. Cairo has been fantastic, and I’d hope the Phils retain him because he could come up large later in the season. Donald has had a fantastic spring (.333 AVG, .434 OBP, .422 SLG). He needs to play nine innings a day, and will do that in Lehigh Valley. He might be your future third baseman.

Jeremy Slayden
Jason Ellison

Slayden is a nice power bat but isn’t quite forecast for the majors. Ellison might prove worthy in a coffee cup situation, much like Brandon Watson last season (who I thought would get time, but never did). They’ll likely join Javon Moran in the Allentown outfield.

Starting Pitchers
Carlos Carrasco
Kyle Kendrick
JA Happ
Andrew Carpenter

Carrasco needs a little more time to work before he heads east. He’ll be with the Phillies proper by August at the latest. Kendrick really needs to develop that changeup; his performance this spring indicates he won’t touch Philadelphia anytime soon. Happ is the odd-man out to start but will be the first up if/once pitching falters. One could see a final-day rotation of Hamels/Myers/Blanton/Happ/Carrasco. Carpenter could go to the bullpen, could stay in the rotation, but one thing’s for sure: He isn’t ready for the show.

Relief Pitchers
Scott Nestor
Dave Borkowski
Mike Koplove
Yorman Bazardo
Blaine Neal
Joe Bisenius
Justin Lehr
Jake Woods

Some of these pitchers will not be in the system this season. I’d keep Nestor (already cut), Borkowski, Koplove and Bisenius. Borkowski and Koplove have shown the most this spring, but compared to the experienced Majewski, they fall short.


Chris Coste: Trading block. A team looking for a veteran might dangle a little more than organizational filler for him.
Matt Stairs: Trading block, or if he doesn’t mind, triple-A. But if Mayberry makes the team, Stairs isn’t.
Brad Harman: Could even go down to double-A.
Sergio Escalona: Wouldn’t be surprised if he reached double-A, as well.
Antonio Bastardo: Ditto.



  1. Tim Malcolm

    March 18, 2009 at 11:24 am

    If Hamels goes 15-day (which he likely won’t), Happ comes up.

    And I could think about bringing Happ up and keeping Mayberry down for the first two weeks if Hamels wasn’t quite ready (but not on DL).

  2. RealMetsFan

    March 18, 2009 at 3:46 pm


    The USA team WINS!!!
    Jimmy Rollins and David Wright hugging, and giving each other high fives.
    WOW!!! who woudda thunk that

  3. Manny

    March 18, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Great post, Tim. I’m glad you enjoyed Florida…

    Majewski could get it IF he keeps it up… if he blows up ONCE in the remaining ST games, then I’d put Happ in the bullpen temporarily.

    That is, of course, if Ho keeps it up and doesn’t blow it in his remaining start(s). Happ still has a respectable 3.60 ERA in spring; we shouldn’t demote him just yet.

    As for Mayberry vs. Stairs (as of now) I’d rather have Mayberry just because he is a righty… but if Stairs stays on a tear for the next couple of weeks, then I couldn’t give Mayberry the spot.

  4. John Fire

    March 18, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    I think they’re carrying 12 pitchers. Doubt they’ll go north with only 11 guys… I think that extra pitcher is either Koplove or Happ. Think they’ll cut Ozuna – not for lack of trying, but it looks like Utley and Feliz are ready.

  5. John Fire

    March 18, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    I retract my previous statement… here’s a quote from Ruben in Conlin’s latest column:

    “We’re starting to lean a little toward maybe carrying 11 pitchers,” Amaro said, stressing that nothing is written – yet. “We are aware that carrying 12 can leave Charlie short of moves.”

  6. Griffin

    March 18, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    The Nats sign Joe Beimel for one-year $2 million. Damn, he would have looked good as a Phillie. If only they hadn’t mismanaged their budget this off-season.

  7. justin

    March 18, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    One could see a final-day rotation of Hamels/Myers/Blanton/Happ/Carrasco.

    If you see this happening, where do you see moyer on this team? traded, id be surprised since he just signed that 2 year deal. Do you think he could make a good left handed specialist? kind of like how dan plesac was a couple years ago. Moyer has all the experience in the world and i think can pitch in any situation, if that mean coming out of the pen. For some reason, the more I think about it, the more i like it. I know he’d be making way to much money for a left specialist, but maybe he’d become a very good long reliever later on in the year and into next. Whatever the case is, I know this year is going to be great. I havent been so excited for a season to start since the Eagles signed T.O.

    The phillies have never been a team that starts off really hot, and I like that. Obviously i dont want to see them have to clime out of a big whole to get back to the top of the division. its a marathon not a race. You never want to get to hot to early. anyway, im done ranting. LETS GO PHILLIES!

    p.s. Take your time Cole. We need you in september, not april

  8. BurrGundy

    March 18, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    I’d send Bruntlett down and keep both Cairo and Ozuna. Both are experienced, play multiple positions and hit better than Bruntlett.

  9. John Fire

    March 18, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Brunt’s a known commodity. You don’t drop him now – especially not after the great spring he’s had. He isn’t giving you a reason to cut him. Both Cairo and Ozuna are nice pieces, but you know what you’re going to get with Bruntlett.

    Man, you’re in a good place when you’re discussing the 25th spot on the roster! Think about all those other non-WFC teams out there with gaping holes in their order or rotation…

  10. Greg V.

    March 18, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Yeah Matt Stairs hits the home run that all but seals the deal for the Phils going to the World Series and he’ll got to Lehigh Valley next season? Not to mention, he’s had some big spring hits. I’d package him, Coste, and Kendrick up to see if we can take something off of Ed Wade’s hands! Like we always do!

  11. Richie Allen

    March 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    At first I thought Mayberry would be better in AAA,But I’m really psyched to see him play some in Philly.He could be a great talent.
    Its a shame to see Coste go but he had more time in the show than even he expected.I agree ,package him for some prospects.
    I still like Happ though…..Keep him up ,this kid is good.

  12. OZ

    March 18, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    i don’t like Happ in AAA, but alas, this is a good problem to have.

    don’t know much about Paulino, so i’ll yield to Tim’s wisdom on that one. and yeah, sad to see Coste run come to an end…

    i’ll be at ST not this wknd, but next wknd. going to Brandenton for the Phils v. Pirate, trying (unsuccessfully) to get into that Sunday game v. the REd Sox.

    if anyone is gonna be around, lemme know….

  13. Mike

    March 18, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    I wouldn’t be devastated if we did, but I really don’t want to trade Stairs.

    Dude’s now a legend, and I simply think he’s worth keeping around, especially if Jenkins can’t get it together this year.

  14. uguethurbina

    March 18, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    I gotta think we can find a team to pay sooome of jenkins salary in a trade. maybe about 2 million? put that towards ohman(has he signed elsewhere yet?) kill two birds with one stone..

  15. Ryan

    March 18, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    I agree with everyone else about Stairs. That was my single favorite moment of the postseason aside from the World Series win and I’ll remember that home run for the rest of my life. I can’t believe we’d give him up after that, but I guess he really is only a home run hitter.

  16. Josh

    March 19, 2009 at 3:06 am

    We have a few good years of pitching ahead of us, and I like that fact. We’re going to be a dominant force for years to come.

    I hear Park has been doing so well, so I think he deserves the spot. Happ should stay fresh in triple-A. He’ll be needed, soon.

  17. NJ

    March 19, 2009 at 4:01 am

    I think the complete opposite. There’s nohing to gain sending Happ to AAA and Mayberry won’t get the playing time with the Phils to aid his development, he’s shown he has the potential to be an everyday guy and we should try to catch lightning in a bottle by letting him hopefully tear up AAA and force his way into an everyday spot with the big club.

    Also somethings telling me Cairo is the guy to hold onto and not rush Feliz, we’ve seen how badly his performance suffers when he’s not a 100%.

  18. Phan in TN

    March 19, 2009 at 6:07 am

    Tremendous job you and Brian have done in Fla

    Love the pics on Flickr and facebook too.

    I have no Comcast Sportsnet down here in TN, so I depend on philliesnation for most of the behind the scenes stuff with the Phils.


  19. BigDaddy

    March 19, 2009 at 6:07 am


    Good job on the Final Roster! I want to thank, you, Brian and Rob and the rest of Phillies Nation for the tailgate ( Free beer and Hot Dogs ) that made my stay in Clearwater one to remember for all time. It was great that Phillies Nation made a huge donation to the Jamie Moyer Foundation.
    Keep Doing what Your Doing for Phillies Fans.

  20. Justin

    March 19, 2009 at 6:53 am

    Tim since you were down there and you saw Jason Donald at 3rd, how did he look? Obviously he didn’t look bad otherwise I don’t think you would put “He might be your future third baseman.”

  21. Chuck P

    March 19, 2009 at 8:21 am

    This looks spot on… hate to say I told you so but Park is the #5 until he loses the job. I would say that it is possible (not probable) that Hamels starts out on the 15 day DL… nothing to prove that but if I’m looking at this roster dilemma as a GM and I’m worried about an unhealthy Hamels, it might make sense to let him rest and give the other guys a little time to prove themselves. Having Happ in the rotation for a few spot starts won’t hurt… we could keep 11 pitchers early and continue to see what those other guys are capable of. It’s not optimal but I don’t know how you decide between Ozuna, Donald and Cairo, at this point… they’ve all done very well.

    I feel like the Phillies know that they’re going to be letting go of Stairs and Coste but the front office is trying to keep it under the radar as a favor to those guys. So we let them audition a little longer and hopefully they can find a job somewhere else. Mitch Williams said that he thought Stairs needed to be kept around for his veteran attitude and leadership but I truly wonder if the Phillies coached him to say that.

  22. Justin

    March 19, 2009 at 8:51 am

    He doesn’t work for the Phillies anymore so that wouldn’t be something he’d do just for the Phils I don’t think.

    And Donald needs regular playing time not sporadic PT it won’t help his development.

  23. Manny

    March 19, 2009 at 9:10 am

    “Park is scheduled to pitch Saturday against the Minnesota Twins, though pitching coach Rich Dubee revealed that the righthander has been bothered by a “tweaked” hamstring.”

  24. fred

    March 19, 2009 at 10:26 am

    There is no way any team trades more than an organisational filler for Coste. He’s a 36 (!) year old reserve catcher who is about to hit arbitration, and thus get expensive. Anyhow, last year he outhit both Ruiz and Paulino so why get rid ?

  25. Mike Cardone

    March 20, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Coste is such a nice story to fans, such an albatross to whomever has to pay him next year. Don’t be surprised if he is back in AAA soon. The ultimate bubble player – though a great story.

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