The Phillies will kick off their first season under manager Joe Girardi on Friday
Opening Day for Major League Baseball is here, and a lot of news related to the overall league and the Philadelphia Phillies were announced today. Here is a summary of what you need to know ahead of the team’s Opening Day on Friday against the Miami Marlins:
Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Associated reached an agreement on an expanded postseason format for the 2020 season.
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the top two teams in each division will qualify for the postseason, with the bottom two seeds being the best overall records among the remaining teams in each league.
Rather than a sudden-death Wild Card Game, there will be a best-of-three first-round series, with all three games to be played at the higher seed’s stadium. Teams will be seeded 1 through 8, according to record, in each league. No teams will have a first-round bye.
As USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports, players will benefit from the expanded postseason with a $50 million pool. Traditionally, postseason player shares accumulate just from “gate revenue,” rather than television ratings. Owners have agreed to share with the players the expected $200 million to $300 million extra revenue created from the expansion.
Opening Day roster set … plus one more on the way
The Phillies announced their season-opening roster on Thursday, but it only had 29 players of the possible 30. Infielder Phil Gosselin — who has impressed in summer camp — is expected to be added ahead of Friday’s opener, with contractual issues holding up his addition.
Righty reliever Victor Arano and outfielder Nick Williams are notable players that were not included in the mix, as well as top prospects Alec Bohm and Spencer Howard. At least the latter two are expected to be added about a week into the season so their service time “clock” does not start.
Notable inclusions include pitchers Austin Davis, Tommy Hunter, Trevor Kelley (contract purchased), Reggie McClain and Ramon Rosso (contract purchased), infielder Neil Walker (contract purchased), as well as outfielder Kyle Garlick. The Phillies designated right-handed reliever Robert Stock for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster, which is now full.
Alternate training site underway
Only 30 players from the Phillies player pool can be with the team at Citizens Bank Park. The other half, or “taxi squad,” has reported to Coca Cola Park — also known as the team’s alternate training site — for their first workout, which took place on Thursday.
Infielder Nick Maton is the team’s newest addition to the Phillies’ pool. The Athletic’s Meghan Montemurro says to expect more to be added, including prospects. Montemurro adds: “[General Manager] Matt Klentak said they will probably wait a few days to formalize it to see ripple effect of other teams’ roster decisions.”
Update on Seranthony’s status
Klentak told reporters on Thursday that right-handed reliever Seranthony Dominguez still has not undergone Tommy John; he added that he cannot say why Dominguez has delayed surgery, but hopes it takes place soon. Dominguez has not pitched in a big-league game since June 5, 2019.
The Phillies’ newest dad
It had been reported that No. 2 Phillies starting pitcher Zack Wheeler would miss some time early in the season on paternity leave, but that will no longer be the case. He and his wife, Dominique, had their first child on Monday. Manager Joe Girardi says Wheeler will make his team debut on Saturday.
Ex-Phillie Josh Harrison drawing interest
Among the veterans the Phillies recently released include non-roster invitee Josh Harrison. According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Harrison has since drawn interest from the Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, and his hometown Cincinnati Reds.
“He should land somewhere,” says Heyman.
More than just cardboard
FOX Sports is planning to virtually place fans into the stands for its broadcasts this season. The Phillies have two games currently scheduled to be broadcast on FOX in 2020: August 27: at Washington Nationals, 7:15 p.m. and August 29: vs. Atlanta Braves, 1:15 p.m.