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Has Girardi influenced Phils' clubhouse culture?

Beat reporter Todd Zolecki answers Phillies fans' questions
February 27, 2020

FT. MYERS, Fla. -- It still seems like there is a lot of Spring Training remaining, but look at the calendar for a moment: Opening Day is less than a month away.

FT. MYERS, Fla. -- It still seems like there is a lot of Spring Training remaining, but look at the calendar for a moment: Opening Day is less than a month away.

There are a lot of questions about the Phillies. We answered a few Thursday in our latest Inbox:

With the new manager, what is the mood and culture like in the clubhouse?
-- @beammobile_omni

It’s different, a lot different.

If you have been reading Phillies stories here and elsewhere, it is safe to say that the club’s pitchers are thrilled with the changes to the coaching staff. The starters are excited to learn from new pitching coach Bryan Price and pitch more to their strengths. The relievers believe that manager Joe Girardi will run a better bullpen. Does that mean the Phillies will pitch better this season? Not necessarily, but it can’t hurt. Confidence and conviction are so important to pitchers. They need to feel good about themselves when they step on the mound. They need to have conviction behind every pitch they throw. Pitchers say that if they do not believe they can throw a certain pitch in a certain count, it is difficult to make it a quality pitch. They seemed to be lacking that conviction last season.

Many of the position players liked playing under Gabe Kapler, but Girardi’s experience comes through to them. He has a presence about him because he has seen and done everything as a manager in New York. He will run a tighter ship, which is not a bad thing.

Who do you think will be in the end of the rotation? Is Nick Pivetta looking good enough to just leave Vince Velasquez in the bullpen?
-- @connors1013

It’s too early to tell. I think everybody needs to see several more starts from both to make any decisions. Pivetta just made his second start of the spring on Thursday against the Red Sox in Ft. Myers. Velasquez has made just one start. The Phillies hope to have a better idea by the middle of next month. Girardi has said he would like to give the runner-up enough time to get acclimated to the bullpen.

Didi [Gregorius]'s clubhouse presence in three words?
-- @Max_Kiser

Upbeat, leader, smile.

If Andrew Knapp starts the season on the IL, would Joe Girardi give the backup job to Rafael Marchan or is he just too young?
-- @fakesnale

He’s just too young. He just turned 21 and has not hit through Class A Clearwater. If Knapp is not ready to roll, Deivy Grullon will be the guy. But everybody seems to be high on Marchan. If he can just swing the bat a little better in the next couple years, he could be a backup at some point.

Can Adam Haseley handle center field every day?
-- @Biggreek24

The Phillies will find out. If not, they believe they have an alternative with Roman Quinn. Haseley and Quinn are an under-the-radar battle worth watching this spring and season. Haseley could get the Opening Day nod, based on general manager Matt Klentak’s comments this offseason that Haseley would play regularly. But Quinn showed flashes of his potential last season before he got injured. If Haseley stumbles, Quinn could take his spot.

How has Jean Segura looked at third?
-- @PhillyFlash59

He has looked pretty good so far. Good enough to keep throwing him out there, which is encouraging.

Should Phillies fans just forget about the guy from the Cubs?
-- @agriffinmitsu

Yes, at least until July.

So far, who is your bench?
-- @pmcross35

I just updated my projected Opening Day roster. It could go so many ways, so I am not betting any money on these projections. But right now, my best guess is Jay Bruce, Quinn, Knapp, Logan Forsythe and Neil Walker.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook .