Don’t look now, but Danys Baez has tossed three straight scoreless outings for the Phillies. You don’t have to stop the presses for that statement, but honestly, it’s a feat.
While he doesn’t have a roster spot 100 percent locked up, if he’s able to show he can throw strikes semi-consistently during Spring Training, Baez will likely break camp with the Phillies and head north. Much of that, one would think, is due to the $2.75 million he’s owed for 2011. But does he have anything left in the tank?
On Tuesday against the Orioles, Baez looked extra sharp (when was the last time anyone said that about Baez!), striking out two in a hitless inning of work. That’s now 3 1/3 innings (that actually count) in which Danys has not given up a run. Yeah, he gave up five earned in a B-squad game against Blue Jays in his first outing of the spring. But against real competition, his numbers have been steady thus far.
Many want Baez to be cut to open up the door for some youthful arms; guys like Justin DeFratus, Scott Mathieson, or a whole handful of others who could potentially grab a spot in the Phillies pen.
DeFratus has not distanced himself this spring as he’s given up four earned runs in five innings of work. Mathieson is still working on refining a cutter, but he’s done well so far – two runs in five innings. Vance Worley has been up and down, same goes for Michael Schwimer. J.C. Ramierz, Juan Perez, Ryan Feierabend, Drew Naylor, Dan Meyer, Brian Bass, Eddie Bonine, and Andrew Carpenter (among others, if there are any left I apologize) you can pretty much cross off the list to start.
Mike Stutes, Mike Zagurski, and David Herndon have all pitched particularly well over a small sample size – they too could be in the fight for that spot.
There’s no telling what can happen from now til the end of March, but if I was a bettin’ man, I’d put my money on Baez to stick around. The Phillies don’t want to waste nearly $3 million when they’re already capped out (or close).
That’s part of the reason why Baez will be in the bullpen in April. That, and he may have something left in the tank after all.