As is usually the case with a stacked team like the Phillies, there isn't going to be a ton of mystery as to who makes the roster. A lot of guys (Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, etc.) are locks to make the roster, but there are a couple spots up for grabs.
First is right field. Currently it's a two-man race between Ben Francisco and the youngster Dominic Brown. The Phillies will tell you John Mayberry, Jr. is also in the mix, but we all know he doesn't have a legitimate shot at winning the starting job.
The bullpen has a couple question marks, but even that is set for the most part. Other than the bullpen, the spots open for competition are spots on the bench. The Phillies have serious injury concerns with Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Placido Polanco, so putting together a good bench could be the difference in whether or not this team is still playing in late October.
Enough talk. Let's get to it.
Everyday Starters (8)
Ryan Howard - First Base
This is pretty obvious. The guy is only making $25 million per season.
Chase Utley - Second Base
He might be on the downswing of his career, but he's still an All-Star player for now.
Placido Polanco - Third Base
Polanco is great in the field and did a very good job making contact at the plate last season. Hopefully he can avoid injury and be as reliable this season.
Jimmy Rollins - Shortstop
Jimmy better wake up and realize his place. It's all about small-ball, Jimmy. You're not Albert Pujols.
Raul Ibanez - Left Field
Unlike most, I still think Ibanez can be effective. He's still good in the field and if he can avoid getting nicked up he should be better at the plate, as well.
Shane Victorino - Center Field
Like everyone else, Victorino had a down year in 2010. He will have to bounce back at the plate, but he's without a doubt the best outfielder on this roster.
Ben Francisco - Right Field
I have a feeling Francisco keeps Dom Brown in Triple-A for at least the first three months of the season. Ben is right-handed, which helps him in an already left-heavy lineup, and is a guy Philly could be underrating.
Carlos Ruiz - Catcher
Who else but Chooch? Ruiz was the only guy not to slump last season and even got some MVP consideration in the process.
1. Shane Victorino
2. Placido Polanco
3. Chase Utley
4. Ryan Howard
5. Jimmy Rollins
6. Raul Ibanez
7. Ben Francisco
8. Carlos Ruiz
Starting Rotation (5)
1. Roy Halladay
No shock here. Halladay is still the best pitcher in baseball.
2. Cliff Lee
Lee might be the second-best pitcher in baseball. Tim Lincecum and C.C. Sabathia might have something to say about that, but who cares what they think?
3. Roy Oswalt
Oswalt has been the subject of some trade whispers lately, but that all seems baseless. He was great for the Phils in half of 2010 and even played some left field, which earned him a permanent place in the hearts of Phillies fans everywhere.
4. Cole Hamels
It still makes me giddy to think this guy is the fourth starter.
5. Joe Blanton
It's looking like Blanton is staying put, and that's alright by me. Outside of a couple prospects, there isn't really anything the Phillies would need anyway. If Blanton were to get traded, however, this would be Kyle Kendrick's spot.
Kyle Kendrick - Spot Starter/Long Relief
Kendrick is essentially the team's sixth starter. If the starter gets into trouble early, I don't think Charlie Manuel would have any issues sending Kendrick out for three, four, five innings at a time. And if one of these guys gets hurt, Kendrick will be the one bumped into the starting rotation.
Danys Baez - Middle Relief
The Phillies clearly overpaid Baez, but they're going to have to pay him whether he's on the roster or not, so it's not worth cutting him. Hopefully he can provide some quality inning before he's shown the door next year.
J.C. Romero - Middle Relief
Romero has not been the same since his suspension for PEDs, but he's the best left-handed option they have.
Antonio Bastardo - Middle Relief
Bastardo sticks around for another left-handed arm. This, however, could change if Bastardo isn't up to snuff a month or so into the season.
Jose Contreras - Middle Relief/Setup/Closer
Contreras does a little bit of everything, and is invaluable to this bullpen. Re-signing Contreras was the most underrated move the Phillies made this offseason.
Ryan Madson - Setup
There might not be a better guy in the eighth inning, just don't ask him to pitch anywhere else.
Brad Lidge - Closer
After a dreadful 2009 season, Lidge rebounded very well in 2010. He blew four saves, but three of those came in one bad stretch. Outside of that, Lidge blew only one save and was very reliable.
Wilson Valdez - Utility
Outside of Ruiz, Valdez was by far the biggest surprise last season. He did a great job filling in for Rollins while he was injured and can play anywhere in the infield.
Brian Schneider - Catcher
Ruiz is going to need breaks, and Schneider did a great job filling in for him last season.
John Mayberry, Jr. - Outfield
The Phillies will need another right-handed bat, and Mayberry will be that guy. David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News thinks the Phils could add another bat before the end of Spring Training, but they appear to be set and will move forward with Mayberry.
Delwyn Young - Second Base
Young has some starting experience and provides good depth at second base, but his key contribution to the team will be in his switch-hitting ability.
Ross Gload - First Base/Outfield
Gload hit .281 with six home runs last season, and was probably the team's best pinch-hitter.
Vance Worley could push for a spot in the bullpen, but he's probably better served starting some games down in Triple-A and being available should something happen.
Pete Orr has been playing second base in place of Utley during Spring Training, but the fact that he bats left-handed will probably prevent him from making the MLB roster.
Like Worley, Dom Brown will probably benefit from some time in Triple-A. Not to mention the fact that putting him in the lineup makes it ridiculously left-handed-heavy and gives a huge advantage to the opposing team's pitching staff.