The Phillies have until Sunday at 3 p.m. to set their 25-man roster for opening day and according to general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., it will come right down to the wire.
Among the internal debates, Amaro said, are whether the team will open the season with seven relievers or eight and which players will fill the spots on the bench. Amaro said the Phillies could fill spots internally or even make a deal.
Could a trade be in the works?
“We might. But I think it’s probably more likely we’ll add something to our roster internally, but it’s possible,” Amaro said before Friday night’s penultimate exhibition game against the Pirates at Citizens Bank Park. “We’ve had some discussions with some other clubs about some things.”
One of the players discussed could be Tampa Bay's Jayson Nix. According to a major league source, Nix, the brother of former Phillie Laynce Nix, could be on the Phillies’ radar. Currently with Tampa Bay, Nix has an opt-out clause in his contract if he does not make the Rays’ big-league roster.
Nix has big league experience at third base, second base, shortstop and the corner outfield positions. In the minors, Nix played every position except for first base and catcher. He also has some power, slugging 12 homers in 94 games in 2009 for the White Sox and 14 in 102 games for the White Sox and Indians in 2010.
The Phillies could use some depth on the bench. With Freddy Galvis and Darin Ruf to open the season on the disabled list, the Phillies’ bench will likely feature outfielders John Mayberry Jr. and Tony Gwynn Jr., infielders Cesar Hernandez and Reid Brignac, and catcher Wil Nieves.
Of those five, Gwynn is the lone lefty hitter. If, say, shortstop Jimmy Rollins or third baseman Cody Asche were to go down with an injury, Brignac would fill the spot. Hernandez can play second base and the outfield and Mayberry can play all three outfield positions and first base.
Amaro says he likes the versatility on the bench. However, one has to wonder how much the GM likes the pinch-hitting potential of the quintet. Combined, the five players have 62 career homers in 1,763 big-league games and Mayberry has 46 of those.
In the meantime, the Phillies have two more spring training games left starting with Friday’s at Citizens Bank Park. Manager Ryne Sandberg said the pair of games will go a long way to deciding how the roster will shape up before Monday.
Stay tuned …