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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Phillies Bolster Bench

During the offseason, it has been clear that Ruben Amaro Jr. has set out a number of goals in which he wanted to accomplish by opening day 2010. Two of these goals include improving the bullpen and bench players. The solution for the bullpen has yet to be seen largely in part due to the unclear status of Scott Eyre and Chan Ho Park. Chan Ho seems more and more unlikely to return to red pinstripes this year. He believes many teams see him as a starter, although he was a very effective reliever for the Phillies in 2009.

The bench has been improved greatly in my opinion. Ruben has cut the dead weight which held this team down in late game pinch hit situations. For the most of the 2009, Matt Stairs and Eric Bruntlett were unreliable. Their averages proved this fact. The first signing came in the form of Juan Castro. He is a utility infielder who assumes the role previously held by Eric Bruntlett. Although his career average is below .250, he is going to be an upgrade defensively and will be used as a late game defensive substitution. He will be an upgrade in my opinion over Eric Bruntlett. The second signing brought the phillies a solid backup catcher, Brian Schneider. He is a very good defensive catcher and is an upgrade over the Chris Coste/Paul Bako connection of 2009. The third and most recent signing was that of Ross Gload. He led the majors in pinch hits last season. How else could you find a better bench player. He also brings some pop from the left side of the plate. He fills the role of Matt Stairs, but with a better average. This will mark the third straight season in which the phillies have the leading pinch hitter from the previous season on their opening day roster the following year. In 2008, it was So Taguchi. In 2009, it was Greg Dobbs. In 2010, it will be Ross Gload. Lets hope Gload works out better than Taguchi did.

So to sum up the Phillies projected opening day bench players their will most likely be 5 players. From the right side, it will be Ben Francisco, Juan Castro, and Brian Schneider. From the left side, it will be Greg Dobbs and Ross Gload. This group may be one of the most balanced in the league. The only thing that they lack is a switch hitter, but I believe that they will be just fine with this current group.

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