Every week, the writers of That Ball’s Outta Here debate the key issues facing the Phillies. Joining me this week are Alex Cheremeteff, Pete Dymeck, and Michael Lecke.
Given how unimpressive Miguel Gonzalez has looked thus far in camp, what are your expectations for him this season?
Yes, Miguel Gonzalez has underwhelmed the brass in Clearwater thus far. However, the Phillies are not paying him $4 million this season to ride the buses in Triple-A. He will be given every opportunity to make the big league roster.
Much of the rust can be attributed to the fact that he has not played in two full seasons. Yes, he has been in Clearwater since last fall, but a solid test will come this Saturday when he steps on the mound at Steinbrenner Field to face the Yankees.
My expectations last October were that he will be a number three starting pitcher for the Phillies. After watching the scouting video from his stint in Mexico, I downgraded to a four, maybe five. Realistically, he will more than likely begin the season as a long man out of the bullpen. However, if Jonathan Pettibone misses an extended period of time, Gonzalez will find his way into the starting rotation.
Expectations for Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez have to be set at a minimum. If anything, he should be looked upon as a bullpen arm at best. If there truly are issues surrounding his elbow, who can really trust him to step into the starting rotation and contribute on a positive level?
A month ago, I thought the season hinged on MAG’s ability to be a capable mid-rotation starter. The acquisition of A.J. Burnett changed that, and now there is much less pressure on him. And that’s a good thing, because it seems like management’s impression of him gets worse every day.
At this point, I’d say it’s almost certain that he starts off in the minor leagues. The best case scenario is that he quickly gets acclimated, gets called up to the big league roster during the season and provides a boost. It’s more likely that he spends some time in the minors, gets called up as an injury replacement, but doesn’t do anything to make us think he’s worth the investment.
Personally I have very low expectations for MAG this season. I assume we’ll see him emerge from obscurity and debut sometime this season, but I won’t be shocked if he never shows up at all. Or, if he does, I won’t be shocked if he isn’t effective.
If the stars align the Phillies way, he’ll burst onto the scene and contribute.
Of all the Phillies’ non-roster invitees, who do you think will make the biggest impression?
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Bobby Abreu will make the biggest impression this spring of all the non-roster invitees. Simply for the fact that everyone in baseball thought he was done; An afterthought.
Should he make the roster, his experience, patience at the plate, and knowledge of the strike zone, will prove to be invaluable coming off the bench. Just remember, it was Michael Martinez coming off the bench the last three years.
The non-roster invitee who I expect to make a big difference will be Maikel Franco. Of all the talk surrounding Cody Asche, I think Franco will have the opportunity to make noise this spring and them get a call by June to replace Asche at the hot corner.
Everyone seems very excited to see what Ken Giles can do, and the reason for that is obvious: He throws 100 MPH, and there simply aren’t that many guys who can do that. I don’t think he makes the team, but I do think he’ll make a strong impression that will cause him to wind up on the Phillies sooner rather than later.
It’s early but I think that question has already been answered. Maikel Franco is a man on a mission. Maikel is one of those players that others players notice. When he hits, heads turn.
What do you think? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments section below.
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