3 Phillies spring training storylines to watch: Johan Rojas, bullpen battle, Sánchez's spot

With spring training finally getting underway, here are three of the top storylines to watch over the next six weeks.
Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Johan Rojas is a top storyline to watch during spring training
Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Johan Rojas is a top storyline to watch during spring training / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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Battles in the bullpen

Speaking of recent acquisitions, the battle for the final bullpen spots on the 2024 Opening Day roster has become much more interesting over the last couple of weeks.

The first six relief jobs are all but spoken for, with José Alvarado, Gregory Soto, and Matt Strahm from the left side and Jeff Hoffman, Seranthony Domínguez, and Orion Kerkering from the right side seemingly locked into Opening Day roles. Assuming Kerkering does what the team expects him to do, that leaves two open jobs — although the youngster will still have to show he deserves his spot during spring training.

Among the current 40-man roster contenders are incumbents Connor Brogdon, Yunior Marte, Dylan Covey, Nick Nelson, and Luis Ortiz, plus newcomers Michael Rucker, Spencer Turnbull, Kolby Allard, and Max Castillo. With likely one long-relief role up for grabs, whoever doesn't land that job out of camp will likely stay stretched out in the minors as rotation depth.

Based on current depth charts from Roster Resource, we can assume that Brogdon, who's out of options, Covey, based on his remarkable finish in 2023, and Turnbull, as a long-man, are the top contenders and have the edge for now. But nothing is set in stone in the middle of February.

Last season, Brogdon pitched 29 innings and ended up with a 4.03 ERA in his relief role. Dylan Covey threw 38 1/3 innings in relief after coming over from the Los Angeles Dodgers and finished with a 2.58 ERA out of the bullpen.

How each player responds in training camp and Grapefruit League action will determine who Rob Thomson and his coaching staff pick to join the big club and head north for Opening Day in Philadelphia.

This is going to be a fun battle to watch for the next six weeks.