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Who Will Fill the Phillies Final Roster Spots

At the very start of Spring Training in February, most of the Philadelphia Phillies 26-man roster had already been determined. Two catchers (J. T. Realmuto, Garrett Stubbs), five infielders (Bryce Harper, Bryson Stott, Trea Turner, Alec Bohm, Edmundo Sosa), four outfielders (Whit Merrifield, Brandon Marsh, Johan Rojas, Nick Castellanos) one designated hitter (Kyle Schwarber), five starters (Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, Ranger Suarez, Taijuan Walker, Christopher Sanchez) and six relievers (Jose Alvarado, Jeff Hoffman, Gregory Soto, Orion Kerkering, Seranthony Dominguez, and Matt Strahm) were all virtual locks to be with the Phillies on opening day.

That left everyone else in camp scrambling for one position player roster spot and two reliever posts. Here is a look at the top candidates for those final spots.

Position Player

Jake Cave – Cave, 31, and a veteran of six Major League seasons, spent time with the Phillies and their minor league affiliate Lehigh Valley last year. He has many things to recommend him as the last man on the Phillies bench. He is a left-handed hitter with power, giving the Phillies a pinch-hitting option in late innings. He can also play all three outfield positions and first base competently. He is hitting .368 this spring.

David Dahl – Dahl, 30, a former All-Star with the Arizona Diamondbacks, is trying to reclaim his career after dealing with a shoulder injury over the past few seasons. He signed a minor league deal with the Phillies just before camp opened. Dahl fills the bill as a left-handed hitter with power who can play all three outfield positions. Dahl has shown some power with two home runs this spring. He is hitting .238.

Christian Pache – Pache, 25, spent time with the Phillies last year after coming over from Oakland last spring in a trade for minor league pitcher Billy Sullivan. The former Atlanta Braves top prospect is a superior defender who has yet to show he can hit on the Major League level. He likely has the most upside of the three possibilities considered here. If the Phillies decide that Johan Rojas needs more minor league seasoning, Pache likely makes the team as the center fielder. If not, because he bats right-handed, he is not the best choice as a bench piece. Pache is out of options, so if he does not make the team, it is very likely the Phillies will lose him on waivers. He is having a good spring, hitting .294 with two home runs.


Connor Brogdon – Brogdon, 29, has been up and down with the Phillies for the past four seasons. He struggled early last season and was sent down to Lehigh Valley in early June. He also struggled in the minor leagues and was not recalled. Brogdon has the combination of a plus fastball and excellent changeup that can be effective for relievers, but issues with command have limited his effectiveness. Those issues have continued so far this spring. Brogdon is out of minor league options and must either make the team or be exposed to waivers.

Yunior Marte – Marte, 29, came over to the Phillies in the winter of 2023 in a trade with the San Francisco Giants. There is no question he has the pure stuff to be a Major League reliever, with an excellent fastball to go with a wipeout slider. But Marte has been very inconsistent in his brief Major League career. He’ll follow a good outing with a terrible one. The issue is again control. He has averaged four walks per nine innings in his career. He has had a very good spring so far allowing no runs in his five innings of work.

Luis Ortiz – Ortiz, 28, is a former first round draft pick by the Texas Rangers. He appears to be the prototypical long man out of the bullpen. His stuff is not overpowering, but he generally throws strikes and induces soft contact. He was effective in a limited role with the Phillies last year but spent most of the season at Lehigh Valley. Ortiz is 0-2, 4,76 this spring.

Jose Ruiz – Ruiz, 29, signed with the Phillies as a free agent after spending last season with Arizona. Ruiz is another hard throwing reliever with a nasty slider. Like Brogdon and Marte, however, Ruiz has never shown the command to be an effective Major League reliever. He does have considerable Major League experience. Having pitched 40-plus innings in five of the last six seasons. He has a 1.80 ERA this spring.

Spencer Turnbull – Turnbull, 31, is trying to reclaim a promising career that was short-circuited by injury. The Phillies signed him for starting pitching depth, but he could start the season as a long man out of the bullpen. As a five-year Major League veteran, Turnbull has the right to refuse a minor league assignment, but the Phillies would likely like him to work as a starter in Lehigh Valley and be ready if one of the regular starters goes down with injury.

Other bullpen options like 2023 holdover Dylan Covey and free agent signee Michael Rucker are dealing with injuries and appear to be out of the running currently. 2022 standout Andrew Bellatti is in camp and pitching well but is a long-shot to make the team because he is not on the 40-man roster.

My guess is that Pache is too talented a player to give up on. He makes the team as the extra outfielder and insurance in case Rojas shows that he needs more time in the minors, Phillies manager Rob Thompson seems to like Marte’s electric stuff, so he probably makes the team, too. Finally, my guess is the Phillies take the risk of waiving Brogdon and keep Ortiz as the long man out of the bullpen. Of course, all this could change with an injury or a trade over the final two weeks of the spring.


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