Locks- Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, Jose Contreras, and JC Romero.
That leaves 3 open spots. Baez Sucks has had a good spring since that "B" game massacre, and given his salary of $2.75M, he's likely to take one of them. Now we're down to 2. It seems Kyle Kendrick is being handed another one of them because of his ability to be the longman, but I'd rather have KK starting in the minors keeping his arm stretched out in case of an injury to the rotation. Or attempt to trade him for a bat (not literally a wooden bat, a player that bats). The bullpen could use another lefty and that means either Antonio Bastardo or Mike Zagurski. Each are pitching well this spring, but Bastardo has more upside because of his knack for the strikeout, which is huge in relief. Scott Mathieson and David Herndon are also vying for the bullpen, and as much as I think it's time to give Mathieson a solid look, I lean towards Herndon in thinking he could be the longman.
Chase Utley is injured and who the hell knows when he'll return to game action. That leaves a huge void in the Phillies lineup and conversely on their bench since Wilson Valdez then becomes the starter at 2nd base. Just so happens a certain someone who has played 1683 games at 2nd base during his 15 years in the Majors was released yesterday by the Mets. Drum roll please...Luis Castillo. Is he a better alternative than Delwyn Young, Josh Barfield, Michael Martinez, or Pete Orr. No, yes, yes, and yes. I like Young's pinch hitting stats (.271 average in 170 at bats) and ability to play 2nd and outfield. Barfield and Orr should be ticketed for Lehigh Valley and only used in case of emergency. Michael Martinez is a Rule 5 pick that should be offered back to Washington because a 28 year old that's only played 33 games at Triple A and has a lifetime .263/.683 line in the minors is not worth a roster spot on a playoff team, and although he's versatile, he doesn't field any position adequately. That brings us back to Luis Castillo. Last year he sucked (.235/.604 in 86 games), but in 2009 he was good (.302/.732 in 142 games). He's a switch hitter with veteran experience that can still get on base, is clinging on to some speed, and his defense is a tick below average. I normally am not in favor of bringing on Mets castoffs, but due to the unknown of Utley's knee and the weakness of 2nd base in the Phillies system, I say welcome aboard Luis Castillo. If he's a total waste then he's released. If he's good a roster decision must be made when Utley or Domonic Brown are ready to rejoin the team.