Phillies 40-Man Roster Rigidity Hurts Chances of Non-Roster Invitees

Mar 13, 2017; Sarasota, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Brock Stassi (78) prior to the game at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 13, 2017; Sarasota, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Brock Stassi (78) prior to the game at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Phillies have very few 40-man roster spots left to spare this spring, which could hurt the chances of non-roster invitees trying to make the team.

The Phillies had a plethora of prospects that needed to be protected from the Rule 5 draft last offseason. They wound up adding 11 minor-leaguers to the 40-man roster, including some of the team’s top prospects like Dylan Cozens, Nick Williams, and Andrew Knapp.

As those prospects are now being reassigned to minor-league camp, there are still a few players left in the major-league camp that are hoping to make the team. First baseman Brock Stassi is the most notable case, but outfielders Daniel Nava and Chris Coghlan, catchers Bryan Holaday and Ryan Hanigan and reliever Pat Venditte all have a fighting chance to make the 25-man roster.

The problem all of those players face is that they are all on minor-league contracts, meaning that the Phillies would have to add them to the 40-man roster. That would require trading or waiving a player already on the roster, and the team has very few options.

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One player many expect to see removed from the roster is reliever Luis Garcia. In 17 games last season he had a 6.46 ERA and he has a 4.24 career ERA with Philadelphia. With more experienced and better right-handed relievers now with the team, Garcia is quickly falling down the depth chart.

Despite his lack of success, Garcia may still find his way on the 25-man roster. The 30-year old added a splitter to his arsenal this spring.

Matt Gelb of included Garcia in his most recent 25-man roster prediction.

If Garcia does manage to make the major-league team, lefty Adam Morgan could very well fall victim to the roster crunch. His struggles in the major-leagues are well-documented, and at some point you have to imagine the team would grow tired of trying to make him fulfill his potential as a former top prospect.

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The Phillies could also swing a trade to open a roster spot. Pitcher Alec Asher and Tyler Goeddel could both fetch something tangible in return. Asher could find a spot somewhere as a long reliever, and Goeddel’s three remaining options could be attractive to a team looking for a Quad-A outfielder.

Jon Stolnis of The Good Phight offered up minor-league pitcher Alberto Tirado as a potential option to remove from the roster. He hasn’t pitched above High-A in the organization and is 22 years old this year.

However, Stolnis noted that adding Tirado to the 40-man roster took a lot of work and removing him probably isn’t worth it for someone who won’t be on the team beyond this season.

With very few options in regards to who the Phils can remove from the 40-man roster, that leaves little room for non-roster invitees like Stassi or Coghlan. Unless the team decides to just “burn it all down” as Matt Winkelman of Phillies Minor Thoughts described it, only one or two non-roster invitees really has a chance to make the roster.

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Being on the 40-man roster helps players Knapp and Aaron Altherr make the major-league team, but it hurts others who are still on minor-league deals.