4 more intriguing Phillies spring training storylines to watch as games begin

Here are some intriguing storylines for Phillies fans to pay attention to with spring training games underway.
Championship Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Five
Championship Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Five / Harry How/GettyImages
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The battle for the final bench spots

The recent addition of utility player Whit Merrifield provides more competition for not only bench players for the infield but also the outfield. Players such as Rodolfo Castro, Kody Clemens, Darick Hall, and Weston Wilson will need to make quite an impression to remain with the Phillies this year. Wilson has two minor league options remaining, while Castro, Clemens, and Hall all have one option remaining.

Edmundo Sosa is another infielder whose role with the club could be impacted by the signing of the 2023 All-Star, while Jake Cave and Cristian Pache will also be competing for outfield playing time in a reserve role.

Cave, Sosa, and Pache don't have any more options. The Phillies don't have room on the bench for all three, so will have to hope one clears waivers to be assigned to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs club in Triple-A. Another possibility may be that one of the three is traded before the start of the regular season.

How will the Phillies use Whit Merrifield?

Merrifield is another experienced player who will presumably be used in a reserve role with all of the Phillies regulars healthy. He has spent the most time playing second base and left field, with time in right and center. With Kyle Schwarber transitioning to a full-time role as the club's DH this season, the 35-year-old could be an option for them to play in left, particularly if Brandon Marsh needs to play center field at any time.

During games in which right fielder Nick Castellanos is the club's DH, Merrifield could play in right field. If center fielder Johan Rojas is sent down to the minor leagues at the start or during the regular season, the Florence, South Carolina native could receive playing time there as well.

If Bryson Stott receives a day off, Merrifield could play at second base, the position he has the most experience playing at during his career. He doesn't have much experience playing at first or third base during his time in the majors, so it remains to be seen if Thomson would play him there. However, if the club is in a pinch, the veteran could also receive playing time at either of those positions.

Look for Merrifield to be used defensively at a few different positions this season for Philadelphia. He made his Phillies spring training debut with a start at second base on Saturday.