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Bye-bye Blackley

Every winter since Pat Gillick's gotten here, we've been excited at the prospect that the GM who once plucked future Blue Jays all-star George Bell out from the Phillies minor-league system in the Rule 5 draft would do a make-good and find someone of value for his current employer. And every spring, we've seen Gillick's Rule 5 selections fall short in their bids for a roster spot, let alone stardom. Lefty pitcher Travis Blackley joined the less-than-illustrious ranks of Chris Booker and Alfredo Simon today as the Phils began the process of offering him back to the Giants.

Blackley isn't the only one gone from big-league camp as the team prepares to depart Florida. Vic Darensbourg and Gary Knotts were reassigned to minor-league camp. At the moment, J.D. Durbin seems likely to make the team despite a brutal outing against the Yankees last night; it's also more than possible that someone will show up on the waiver wire or arrive through trade. Infielder Wes Helms and outfielder Chris Snelling continue to battle for the last roster spot, with most observers (including P-Pravda) giving the edge to Snelling.

All I have to add here in terms of analysis is that while the team obviously doesn't want to eat the $2.15 million or so they'd owe Helms upon his release, there's at least a chance that Snelling--a minimum-salary guy with very little service time--could save them a lot more money if he emerges as a platoon- or even starter-quality outfielder down the line. And a spot is likely coming open in 2009 as Pat Burrell leaves town.