Who will emerge as leader in Phillies' clubhouse?

February 21st, 2016

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Pete Mackanin has talked a little bit about the importance of leadership in the Phillies' clubhouse this season.
Do they have any vocal leaders in there?
"If you have a young team, it would be nice if we had that guy," Mackanin said. "We don't know if there's anybody in-house that can be that guy."
The front office said it values the importance of a good leader, too.
"There is no greater influence on players than their peers," Phillies president Andy MacPhail said. "I think the coaching staff and manager can be immensely helpful, but the guys that often have the most impact on players are their teammates. Kirby Puckett made everybody around him better just by Kirby being Kirby."

Mackanin cited Darren Daulton and Jimmy Rollins as former leaders in the Phillies' clubhouse. Jeff Francoeur served that role remarkably well last season, guiding a young team through a 99-loss season. Francoeur said he wanted to return to Philadelphia, but he got squeezed out once the Phillies signed Peter Bourjos and selected Rule 5 Draft pick Tyler Goeddel in December. Francoeur remains unsigned.
"Having good players is more important than having that [leader], but in the long run, especially when you get down to the nitty gritty, it's nice to have that guy like Dutch [Daulton] who can rally the troops," Mackanin said.
Freddy's the guy
There is plenty of interest in top prospectJ.P. Crawford, who is in big league camp for the first time. But Phillies fans should not hold their breath and expect Crawford to challenge Freddy Galvis to be the Opening Day shortstop.
Galvis has the job locked up and Crawford will open the season in the Minor Leagues, either at Double-A or Triple-A.
"I feel like he deserves that chance," Mackanin said about Galvis. "I'm real high on J.P. Crawford. I haven't seen him a lot, but I know he's highly touted. I want to concentrate on our big league guys. If Freddy Galvis is hitting .280 and everybody is playing like we hope they can, then it gives us more time for the Crawfords and the [Nick] Williamses and so on and so forth, so we won't have to rush them."
Of course, if Galvis struggles, Crawford could push the issue with solid play in the Minors. Crawford is the No. 5 overall prospect in baseball, according to MLBPipeline.com.
Extra bases
• Right-hander Jerad Eickhoff remains day to day with a non-displaced fracture on his right thumb, which he injured bunting last week. Eickhoff said he believes he has plenty of time to get ready for the beginning of the season.
• Right-hander David Buchanan took a line drive off his right triceps during a live batting-practice session. Buchanan seemed to think he should be OK.