Phillies have three potential taxi squad site options
When the Phillies do return they’ll have plenty of space for their taxi squad
At this point we’re not closer to having Phillies baseball back then we were last week. Both the owners and players continue to exchange offers that don’t appear to change from the previous ones.
A sigh that things could be moving is that teams are being told to officially find secondary facilities for their “taxi squad” teams. These players would be the call-up options in 2020 and could include some of the team’s top prospects such as Alec Bohm and Spencer Howard.
The taxi squads will also give some of the best prospects to stay in shape and baseball ready if there is no minor league season, which is expected.
Baseball America (subscription required) is reporting that teams have been instructed to “find a site for their taxi squads to play within 100 miles of their MLB stadium.”
Luckily for the Phillies they have a myriad of options for their taxi squad that would fit the 100-mile perimeter requirement.
At one point the Phillies had minor league teams scattered across the country in places like South Carolina and Oregon. Now they have three teams in Pennsylvania, one in New Jersey, and one (plus rookie ball) in Florida.
Clearwater would obviously be out of the question when it comes to the 100-mile radius of Philadelphia. It might technically be the best site given how it’s set up for spring training and rehab, but it’s out of the question this year.
Williamsport, where the Crosscutters play, is much further in middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania, about 185 miles northwest of Philadelphia. The area might be equipped to handle more players given it has the Little League World Series every year, but it’s not close enough for a taxi squad.
That leaves Lehigh Valley, Reading, and Lakewood as potential taxi squad sites for the Phillies.
Which minor league affiliate would best suit the Phillies taxi squad?
Coincidentally, all three of these locations are about equidistant to Philadelphia, about 68-80 miles.
Lakewood is 71.4 miles away from Philadelphia and would be “down the shore,” which could be either a good thing or bad thing if you have 20-25 guys ages 19-25 with nothing to do but train all day.
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A knock on Lakewood could be that it’s in a different state and the regulations in New Jersey might be different from Pennsylvania. That might not be a big deal, but it might be easier to keep everyone in one state.
Distance-wise, Reading would be the furthest, but not by much. It’s about 80 miles from Philadelphia and it already supports a team of 20-25 guys.
Slightly further north, Lehigh Valley is actually the closest of the three being about 69 miles away. A big plus with Lehigh Valley is that this is where a lot of the taxi squad players were likely to play in 2020. Some of the taxi squad guys might have already gone through Lehigh Valley and were on the Kapler shuttle last year.
Given its a AAA facility I would imagine Lehigh Valley is nicer than Lakewood or Reading, though I’m sure those aren’t terrible either.
Given the proximity and familiarity for a lot of these guys, I’d imagine Lehigh Valley is where the taxi squad players will go.