Charlie may want to carry a second lefty in the pen for more balance, which means Antonio Bastardo would most likely be the favorite to win the last slot (If the Phillies go with the 11 man staff). Bastardo is a converted starter with a plus arm and lots of promise. His numbers at AAA were very impressive with a 2.08 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 17 and 1/3 innings while picking up 3 saves. He rode the Lehigh-Philly road a few times last year until he stuck towards the end of the year. Once he stuck continued to open quite a few eyes. He threw some impressive innings down the stretch and had a 12.5 strikeout per 9 innings that gave both Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee a lot of hope for Bastardo’s development for this season. His main drawback is, like Romero, he can be wild and run high pitch counts per batter and walk people. Bastardo still has an option so they can shuttle him again between Lehigh Valley and Philadelpia if they need to. From his numbers, it looks like there isn’t much more he can learn or develop from being in AAA again. He definitely seems ready to contribute and if Romero struggles again, take over as the full time go to lefty in the pen.
If Charlie wants to go with the extra right hander, Danys Baez will be the guy, despite a disastrous 2010. Baez is a guy most Phillies fans don’t want to hear about or even want on the team. The 5.48 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 10.4 hits per 9 along with a 4.3 walks per nine with a pedestrian 5.3 strikeouts per 9 along with 3 blown saves are some of the reasons why. It seemed to many who were watching the games that every time Baez came in, he gave up runs, but at least they were his own, he actually stranded all the runners he inherited last year. That was the one very small silver lining to the horror of having him in the bullpen. There are two reasons that the Phillies will most likely carry him once more in the pen. The first is he is owed $2.75 million for 2011 as he is in the second year of his 2 year contract. That is a lot of cash to just eat. The second is, he was one of Charlie’s favorites when Charlie coached the Cleveland Indians. Unfortunately for those of us who cringe when we see him enter the game, that was when he actually had an arm before injury took out 2008 season and with it, some of his velocity and movement on his pitches.
Among the names being talked about for the bullpen as outside shots is left-handers Mike Zagurski, Juan Perez, Dan Meyer, Ryan Freierbend and right-handers Eddie Bonine, Vance Worley, David Herndon, Michael Schwimer, Michael Stutes, Justin De Fratus, Drew Carpenter, and Scott Mathieson. If anyone gets injured, or struggles to the point of ineffectiveness one or more of these pitchers will probably be on the track to Citizen’s Bank Park and thrown into the bullpen mix.
While not in the immediate picture the Phillies also signed former number 1 draft picks from 1997 Jason Grilli and Matt Anderson to minor league deals just for extra added depth, just in case. Anderson was the actual first player chosen in that draft by the Tigers with Grilli following as the fourth player being picked by the Giants. No word on if the Phillies are trying to bring back Aaron Myette to corner the market on 1997 number 1’s which didn’t live up to promise.
I will talk about most of these pitchers in the next article, which will be dealing with the bench and organizational depth.
Barry Jeffrey Jr. writes “The Crow’s Nest” column for PSC.
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