Will one of the Phillies starters be forced to come out of the bullpen?
Depending how the Phillies configure the rotation, one or two starters could be moved to the bullpen. Spencer Howard has never pitched a full season before, which lead the Phillies to wait to put him in the rotation. At the same time, an argument could be made he needs to pitch most of the year and get experience. The problem is that the Phillies might have to shut him down before the end of the season; then, they would have to figure out what the plan B is from that point on.
Howard is too valuable of a prospect to overuse. The Phillies can’t afford to risk injury this early in his major league career. It’ll be interesting to see how they handle that situation. If he doesn’t make the starting rotation, the guess would be that Matt Moore and Chase Anderson will take the last two spots. If Howard does make it, Moore and Anderson are on $3 million and $4 million deals, respectively. We would guess that one of them would still get a spot in the bullpen. Both have had experience coming out of the bullpen, Moore more so than Anderson. However, they’ve both been red hot this spring, making it difficult for the Phillies to not reward each for their efforts.
Vince Velasquez could also be considered a possible starter. He has had limited appearances this spring due to a recent oblique injury. That could put him out of the running, and Phillies fans will likely be happy to hear that. All too often, we have seen Vince either implode early in starts or run up his pitch count early. Both outcomes led to long days of work for the bullpen. Velasquez is tied with Anderson as the 13th highest-paid player on the team, which could mean they keep him in the bullpen, even though the fanbase probably prefers for him to elsewhere.