In the last nine days, or 216 hours, the Phillies have added six players to their 40-man roster and only have subtracted two (Josh Lindblom and Vance Worley). Some snuck quietly under the radar, such as the Rule 5 selection of Ender Inciarte or yesterday’s waiver claim of lefty reliever Mauricio Robles from Seattle, while others, like Michael Young and Ben Revere‘s acquisitions, sparked debate here, here, and here.
The reality of adding a new player every 36 hours for nine days is that your roster gets pretty crowded pretty quickly. The Phillies 40-man roster now sits at 39 players, which does not include Carlos Ruiz and does not currently include a back-up catcher. Can the Phillies afford to add one or more players, such as Cody Ross, who Ken Rosenthal has linked them to, since Chooch will be player #40 once his suspension is up? The simple answer is: yes. Do they have enough money to do so? That gets more complicated.
Don’t Worry About the Back-Up Catcher
The Phillies announced they have invited nine players who are signed to Minor League contracts who are not on the 40-man roster to camp and two of those happen to be catchers: Steven Lerud and Humberto Quintero. Lerud, in an emergency call-up, went two for ten last year with two singles, but is 28 and a career .221/.311/.353 Minor League hitter with almost no experience in Triple-A and Quintero is a career .234/.267/.323 Major League hitter. Erik Kratz is not expected to duplicate last year’s magic but he will likely shoulder a large majority of the catching load until Chooch is eligible to return. Lerud or Quintero will likely break camp with the Phillies and can be designated for assignment, off the 40-man, once Chooch returns. Either player will easily waivers.
There Are Ways to Shave the 40-Man Down
Last Friday, I addressed the complication created by acquiring both Revere and Inciarte: the Phillies now likely have six outfielders on their 25-man roster. Teams rarely carry greater than five outfielders unless one of the outfielders can fake it at an infield position. John Mayberry Jr., Laynce Nix, and Darin Ruf all fit that description but all only play first base. Ruf has options but impressed in the Venezuelan Winter League and could be a fit to fill the right-handed void in the line-up and Ruben Amaro said that Domonic Brown has the inside track on winning the right field job in late November. At that point, because Nix has no trade value, trading Mayberry for a warm Minor League body is a no-brainer if a roster spot is needed.
The Phillies could also do any number of two-for-one deals where they pair a pair of 40-man rostered players together for just one in return. Of course, the Phillies have very few tradeable pieces and not much else that teams would consider of interest. If in a pinch, their best bet might be to pair off two of the young relievers, like a Michael Stutes, Michael Schwimer, or B.J. Rosenberg, and trade them for decent, but off-the-radar arm or bat that does not yet need 40-man protection. They could also outright a reliever off of the roster and cross their fingers with waivers or cut Nix if they feel like eating the $1.3 million he is owed.
So the Phillies Kind-Of Have Roster Space. How Much Money Do They Have to Spend?
In short, this. Click to make much, much bigger:
That’s a great question. With approximately one roster space, and some wiggle room if needed for the right pieces, the Phillies have about $12.35-12.50 million to spend. This is based off of my colleague Corey Seidman’s estimate here of ~$27 million left to spend minus the following acquisitions since:
- Mike Adams – $6 million average annual value (AAV)
- John Lannan – $2.5 million AAV
- Young – ~$5.5 million AAV (net change from exchanging Lindblom)
If the Phillies were to add another player, like Ross, it would absolutely trigger a roster move of some sort. They could, however, just as easily stand pat if they do not want to risk losing any of their current players. The Phillies could absolutely fit Ross into their budget, however, as he likely will not command more than $8-10 AAV, which falls below the $12.5-12.75 estimated breakpoint.