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Phillies: Who gets the last spot on the bench?

Phil Gosselin #9, formerly of the Philadelphia Philies (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Phil Gosselin #9, formerly of the Philadelphia Philies (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

The Phillies bench is finally evolving into a formidable bunch

After releasing Logan Forsythe and granting a roster spot to Neil Walker on Saturday, the Phillies have nearly set their bench for the 2020 season.

Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia says that the team will carry a five-man bench with Jay Bruce likely to be the starting Designated Hitter.

Salisbury believes that utility man Josh Harrison is likely to join Walker on the bench, giving Philadelphia two versatile, veteran infielders.

Andrew Knapp is expected to continue as the backup catcher and either Adam Haseley or Roman Quinn will be the fourth outfielder as they enter the season in a platoon role.

Outfielders Nick Williams, Nick Martini, and Mikie Mahtook are not expected to make the team and will either be released, sent to the Lehigh Valley squad, or traded.

That leaves one spot left for either Phil Gosselin, Ronald Torreyes, or Kyle Garlick on the Phillies bench.

Malvern Prep gad Gosselin has held his own in “summer camp,” going 5-5 during Thursday night’s intrasquad game. Last year he played multiple positions (short, third and left field) and hit .313 as a pinch hitter for the Phillies and Reds.

The Phillies do have some versatility at shortstop with Jean Segura and Scott Kingery should Didi Gregorius go down or need a night off. Having Gosselin’s bat off the bench and glove in the field would help since Harrison and Walker are not equipped to play short.

Torreyes is more known for his defense than his bat despite a career .279 average in 236 games. After Walker made the team and with the thinking that Harrison will too, I think it’s unlikely that Torreyes makes the club because he covers the same positions as those two, primarily second and third.

Garlick, a 28th round pick of the Dodgers in 2015, has a little more power behind him and could be a power bat off the bench with Bruce as the DH. He doesn’t have much big league experience, just 48 at-bats with Los Angeles last year.

Garlick, unlike Gosselin and Torreyes, is already on the 40-man roster and the team liked him enough in February when they traded Tyler Gilbert, a former fifth round pick who pitched well in AAA.

The Phillies might be able to keep one of these guys on the taxi-squad if they’re not on the initial roster.

There’s a forgotten factor when looking at the Phillies bench: Alec Bohm

But, the unspoken factor in all of this is top prospect Alec Bohm, who is unlikely to make the initial roster due to service time requirements. If he’s on the roster in the first five games of the season, the Phillies will lose a full season of service time, which, is not worth it when you’re talking about the kind of player Bohm could be for the team.

If Bohm joins the big league team after a week or two, someone on the bench has to go to clear room. This could also explain the surprising release of Forsythe, who could have been an in-season roster cut who can now look for work before final rosters are set.

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Bohm will likely either start at third or DH, leaving Segura to DH or push Jay Bruce to the bench. There’s also a possibility they give him time at first and let Rhys Hoskins DH.

The club can’t have Bohm sit on the bench and lose game action and development time. If he’s on the big league team, he’s going to play. If you take Segura’s glove off the field, he hits .300 as the DH, and Bohm develops at third, that might be your best option.

Bruce can give Girardi a lefty bat and late-inning pop off the bench as a pinch-hitter for a DH’ing Segura or over one of the center fielders.

With all of that being said, it feels like Gosselin might have the first chance to break the opening day roster over Garlick or Torreyes. He’s got more versatility as an outfielder and infielder, plus he’s performed well for the team not just in camp but last year as a bench bat.