Pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater, Fla., in less than a month. Should we expect Phillies general manager Matt Klentak to make any more moves before Spring Training, or is everything ready to go?
-- Brett L., Broomall, Pa.
I would not be surprised to see Philadelphia announce another non-roster invitee or two with some big league experience. The Phillies could use more arms in the bullpen. Perhaps they will find a few relievers looking for jobs and bring them into camp to compete. Other than that, I do not see the Phils bringing in anybody of any significance.
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It appears the backup catcher's job will be Andrew Knapp. I think he has played some first base in the Minor Leagues. Because he is a switch-hitter, could he see some platoon time at first base against right-handed pitching?
-- Steve B., Carlisle, Pa.
Knapp or non-roster invitees Ryan Hanigan and John Holaday will be Cameron Rupp's backup, with Jorge Alfaro expected to start the season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Knapp seems to be the favorite at this point. He has played some first base, so if he makes the team, it would give Phillies manager Pete Mackanin another option during games. But from the way it sounds, Tommy Joseph is going to be the everyday first baseman, so I suspect they will run Joseph out there as much as possible to see how he handles the workload.
Of course, if Joseph struggles against right-handers, Philadelphia might look at other options. But when he was asked about first base the other day, Mackanin said Andres Blanco is somebody who could play there if Joseph needs a day off.
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Why didn't the Phillies take advantage of the Dodgers' need for a second baseman when it looks like they could have netted Jose De Leon in a trade? Cesar Hernandez's value may never be higher and Howie Kendrick could have moved back to his natural position, giving Scott Kingery another year to develop.
-- Shane D., Blackwood, N.J.
You are assuming Los Angeles valued Hernandez equally or more than it did John Forsythe, whom it acquired from Tampa Bay. Hernandez had a career-high .764 OPS last season, boosting his career OPS to .711. Forsythe posted a .778 OPS last year. He has a career .721 OPS, but a .791 OPS the past two seasons.
It might not seem like much of a difference, but the Dodgers have been looking for right-handed hitters and Forsythe, who has some power, fits the bill. He has a career .818 OPS against left-handed pitching, while Hernandez has a career .741 OPS against lefties. Just a hunch, but I'm guessing they liked Forsythe more than they liked Hernandez. So even if the Phillies offered up Hernandez, they probably would not have received De Leon in return.
If J.P. Crawford has an incredible spring, could he make the Opening Day roster?
-- Jason W., Bethlehem, Pa.
The only way Crawford will make the Opening Day roster is if there is a significant injury to Freddy Galvis. Crawford has more to prove in Triple-A, where he did not put up great offensive numbers last season -- although he was the second-youngest player in the International League when he was promoted in May. Now, if Crawford gets off to a hot start and Galvis struggles? All bets are off at that point. In that scenario, Crawford could be in the big leagues before you know it.