PHILADELPHIA -- Anytime anybody discussed the Phillies' projected Opening Day roster, either this winter or this spring, it came with a caveat:Scott Kingery will not be called up until April 13 at the earliest.No chance, no way, no how.That changed Sunday, when the Phillies signed Kingery to an unprecedented six-year,
PHILADELPHIA -- Anytime anybody discussed the Phillies' projected Opening Day roster, either this winter or this spring, it came with a caveat:
Scott Kingery will not be called up until April 13 at the earliest.
No chance, no way, no how.
That changed Sunday, when the Phillies signed Kingery to an unprecedented six-year, $24 million contract. It will be a nine-year, $65 million contract if the Phils exercise three club options that keep him in a Philadelphia uniform through 2026. It is unprecedented because Kingery became the first Phillies player and just the second ever selected in the Draft to sign a multiyear contract before playing a single inning in the big leagues.
That is a nice piece of trivia for Phils fans, but they only care that Kingery will be on the 25-man roster for Thursday's series opener against the Braves at SunTrust Park in Atlanta. Will he be in the starting lineup? That is another question.
The Phillies announced their roster on Thursday. Here is how it looks:
Catchers (2):Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp. No surprises here. Alfaro entered the spring as a lock. Knapp entered camp as the favorite over Cameron Rupp, who had fallen behind offensively and defensively. Rupp got designated for assignment Sunday and released Monday. So, what happens if something happens to Alfaro or Knapp? In the short term, the Phillies could promote Logan Moore or Matt McBride from Triple-A. Philadelphia also could find a veteran catcher in another organization. It is risky to have such inexperienced catching depth in the organization, but the Phils are comfortable taking it.
Infielders (4):Carlos Santana, Cesar Hernandez, Maikel Franco and J.P. Crawford. How will Phillies manager Gabe Kapler find enough playing time for everybody? Santana will play regularly at first base, but if the Phils want Kingery to play nearly every day, Hernandez, Franco and Crawford will lose plate appearances. It truly will be one of the more interesting storylines of the season. Hernandez said on Monday he is not worried about it. Let's check back with everybody on May 25 to see how it is going.
Outfielders (4):Rhys Hoskins, Odubel Herrera, Aaron Altherr and Nick Williams. Kapler finds himself in a similar situation with his outfielders. Hoskins, like Santana, will play nearly every day. But while Herrera figures to be the primary center fielder, both Altherr and Kingery can play there. Altherr, Williams and Kingery can share time in right, too.
Utility players (2): Kingery and Pedro Florimon. Obviously, Kingery is not a utility player in terms of talent -- he could be a superstar -- but he is listed here because he is expected to play everywhere. The Phillies optioned Jesmuel Valentin on Sunday and Roman Quinn on Monday, making Florimon the fourth man on a four-player bench. If Florimon falters, Valentin could get the call. If somebody in the outfield suffers an injury, it could be Quinn.
Rotation (4):Aaron Nola, Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez and Ben Lively. Jacob Arrieta is not on the Opening Day roster, but he will make his first start April 8 against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies on Monday optioned right-hander Zach Eflin, essentially handing the No. 4 job to Lively (although the Phils have not announced it). That job became available because Jerad Eickhoff is sidelined until at least May because of a strained right lat.
Bullpen (9):Hector Neris, Luis Garcia, Pat Neshek, Adam Morgan, Hoby Milner, Andrew Hutchison, Edubray Ramos, Jake Thompson and Victor Arano. Tommy Hunter opens the season on the DL with a right hamstring injury. Mark Leiter opens on the DL with a strained flexor pronator in his right arm. Hunter, like the first four pitchers listed in the bullpen, was a lock to make the team. Milner entered camp as a favorite over left-hander Zac Curtis, who was optioned Monday. Hutchison pitched well throughout camp. He had his contract selected Sunday, putting him on the team. Thompson and Arano got the final two spots because of the Hunter injury and because Arrieta will not open with the team.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.