The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

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Phillies Start New Season With an Old Roster

Phillies Start New Season With an Old Roster

The Phillies are just starting spring training in Florida and are looking to return to the World Series with a very similar roster to last year which may infuriate fans but should be no concern.

Last year the Phillies were back in the National League World Series and with hopes to get back to the World Series. The bats, however, went ice cold from all the stars, and Aaron Nola’s bad game six led to the Arizona Diamondbacks moving on to the World Series.

This year the Phillies extended Nola this offseason and let Rhys Hoskins and Craig Kimbrel walk. They added two possible starters one being Kolby Allard, a former Atlanta Braves starter an outside shot of that happening, and Spencer Turnbull, a former Detroit Tiger who got hurt last year while returning from a UCL injury (Tommy John surgery) from 2021 when he was dealing, he even threw a no-hitter that year.

They also added Whit Merrifield, a great utility man who has played the whole right side of the infield, and he has led the league in hits twice in his career and three times led the league in stolen bases. He is the ultimate utility man who has always hit over .270 average besides 2022.

Fans have concerns about adding what might only be one guy in Merrifield to the 26-man roster but should be relieve their worries because the Phillies now have a fully healthy Bryce Harper who will play first base moving Kyle Schwarber back to designated hitter. Freeing up his inability to play the outfield for a good fielder in Christian Pache, Johan Rojas, Brandon Marsh and Merrifield while also having Nick Castellanos a capable fielder playing right field.

Pache surprisingly became a better hitter with the Phillies boosting his average up to over .300, Rojas as a rookie also hit over .300 in his short stint in the majors. Marsh’s average has gone up considerably since being traded to the Phillies as well as his ability to get on base by taking pitches working the count and getting the walk.

Castellanos after a down year in 2022 bounced back in 2023 raising his average, home runs, doubles, runs batted in (RBI) and stopped chasing as much at outside sliders. Maybe fans could worry about the outfield for hoping Rojas can hit come playoff time this year and Marsh not being the greatest but very capable starter, there are no concerns on the infield.

Enough has been said about Harper. He is an MVP candidate every year and will now become a first baseman, Bryson Stott, the second baseman, is becoming a star drastically increasing his average, doubles and RBI, and can only really improve again. The left side of the infield is also good with Alec Bohm the third baseman improving from the previous season, getting more doubles, HR and RBI.

The shortstop Trea Turner, just like Castellanos had a bad first season with the Phillies but will most likely bounce back because he, unlike Castellanos did improve after the all-star break in the first season. Some people have had him as a dark horse MVP for about like three years now because he can fill his stats in every category previously mentioned.

The Phillies’ pitching has fans worried it is not the best which might be true. One fan Harlod Landman a Bucks County Community College student said “I think they needed a closer and maybe another bullpen arm.”

Where it would be nice to add a closer, they should wait for the trade deadline and see if needed. The Phillies need to see what they have in Orion Kerkering if he can be the closer. They still have strong leftie relievers in Matt Strahm, Gregory Soto and Jose Alvarado.

The righties are not stars but are becoming special. Harper personally called for Jeff Hoffman to join the roster when he was rehabbing with him. Harper could not hit off Hoffman. They also have Seranthony Dominguez, a late-game reliever to hold leads, Connor Brogdon reliable when called upon and Kerkering as well.

The starters are still the same as last year with maybe Turnbull taking the spot of Christopher Sanchez who was in and out last year of the rotation. Either option for the fifth man would be just fine, Sanchez is young and proved late in the season last year by posting an earned run average (ERA) below 3.50. Where if the Phillies went with Turnbull, he would be a high reward no risk due to getting a “prove it” contract due to injuries.

They also have Zack Wheeler Cy Young candidate, Nola who has all-star talent but will have games where he gets blown up. The next two are Ranger Suarez who is an amazing postseason pitcher and Tajaun Walker who starts every game at 20-plus pitches in the first inning but settles in and allows three to five runs a game which is solid for the fourth starter.

The Phillies have the best catcher in the business, JT Realmuto. He has the best pop time recorded, which is the moment the pitch hits the catcher’s mitt to when he delivers it to the second baseman’s glove which means he has the best chance at getting anyone stealing out. He also delivers a reliable bat for a catcher hitting above .250 average and consistently 20 home runs every year.

The Phillies Bench will have Merrifield, Edmundo Sosa who can play everywhere in the infield besides first base, Garret Stubbs as backup catcher and Jake Cave who is a corner outfielder and first baseman.

The roster is developed for a postseason run and fans believe in the team to go far. Landman said “I think the lineups pretty set and I think they will be a wild card team again with hopes of going on a run.”

Some fans believe that the time has passed for the Phillies to win a World Series. Joey Ireland a Bucks resident said “No I don’t think so. I feel Like we had a shot the last two years.”

This roster is experienced from the last two years and has seen everything from winning against a better team in the playoffs to losing to the young Diamondbacks and losing the biggest in a World Series against a team everyone had sweeping them. Still, the Phillies stole two, one being game one away and one at Citizen Bank Park.

It would look nice to add to another division Champ for the Phillies but will probably not happen due to the Braves being a juggernaut offense and just always having pitching. However, it might be advantageous for the Phillies to keep rolling into the playoffs and not take a week off. The previous two seasons have shown that to be the case with the Phillies beating the Braves twice in two different series come playoffs.

The time to win a championship is now or never for the ‘Fightin Phils.” The stars Harper, Turner, Schwarber, Wheeler, Nola and Castellanos, are all in their 30s or just entering. Landman said, “The window is closing.”