Earlier today I wrote a post about the Yankees and their roster breakdown and now I want to go through and take a quick look at the Phillies roster and how it has been constructed.
Here is the Phillies’ roster and how it has been constructed:
Draft picks (6): Cole Hamels, JA Happ, Ryan Madson, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley.
Amateur free agents (2): Antonio Bastardo, Carlos Ruiz.
Trades (7): Joe Blanton, Scott Eyre, Cliff Lee, Brad Lidge, Eric Bruntlett, Ben Francisco, Matt Stairs.
Free agents (9): Chad Durbin, Pedro Martinez, Chan Ho Park, Paul Bako, Miguel Cairo, Greg Dobbs (waivers), Pedro Feliz, Raul Ibanez, Jayson Werth.
Rule 5 draft (1): Shane Victorino.
Taking a quick look at this information makes me feel like the Phillies have done an excellent job in the front end of the amateur draft. Hamels, Howard, Rollins, and Utley are probably the four biggest players on this team with maybe the exception of Lee. Not only are they big players for the Phils, but they would be huge players on any team.
The Phillies have done a very good job in the early rounds of the draft, but have done a poor job in the later rounds and they have been forced to use free agents as a way to supplement not having any sleeper draft picks, guys who were taken in later rounds but contributed to this team. Most of their free agents are the mediocre veteran kind so they haven’t had to spend a ton on them and thus they escape the, ‘you bought your championship’ argument, but nine free agents is the bulk of the way they’ve built their team.
A couple of smart trades is what has made this a very powerful team. Obviously Cliff Lee was huge this season. He gave them an ace at the front of the rotation and helped distinguish them from the rest of the National League. The Joe Blanton trade was a big one for them too. No he isn’t the big starter Lee is, but he is a horse, a guy who goes out there every week and eats up innings and keeps the Phillies in games. Taking a risk on Lidge has also, mostly, paid off for them, especially in 2008.
A few things to note, Victorino came over as a rule 5 draft pick. The rule 5 draft is a system MLB set up so that teams can’t stockpile players in their minor league system that would otherwise be in the majors with other teams. Usually these guys are fringe players though and teams just take a chance on them because there isn’t much risk in selecting a guy this way. It is very rare to get a player worth much though as team usually call them up themselves or protect valuable players.
Guys like Victorino and Johan Santana are exceptions to the rule and it has been a really big move for the Phillies since they took a chance on Victorino. It has worked out for them in a major way whereas they otherwise would have had to sign a veteran and probably overpaid player to man center field for them. This way they get a guy in his prime and usually at less money. That is a big help when constructing your team.