It's possible that my presence in Florida doomed Dom Brown. The day I arrived in the annoyingly sunny Sunshine State, Dom Brown was scratched from the Phillies Grapefruit League game against the Orioles because of dehydration. A couple days later, it was announced that he would miss a significant amount of Spring Training time due to tendinitis in his left Achilles. He hasn't played since and manager Ryne Sandberg has repeatedly avoided attaching a date to his return during post-game interviews.
It was seeming more and more inevitable, but now it's official:
It's official: Domonic Brown will start the season on the DL.— Ryan Lawrence (@ryanlawrence21) March 31, 2015
The hope this spring and this season was that Dom would finally settle in to a starting job and produce competently. Missing half of Spring Training and the start of the season will not do him any favors toward that goal. It's unclear how much time Brown will miss, as Ruben Amaro did not put a timetable on his return.
With this news, however, the last week of Spring Training just got a lot more fun. As I've confessed in these pages before, I find non-roster invitees's competition for roster spots particularly compelling. Brown's injury guarantees that at least two of Brian Bogusevic, Jordan Danks, and Jeff Francoeur make the team.
Among the starting RF options, sans Brown: Sizemore, Bogusevic, Danks. Ruf, who played RF a couple of years ago, not a RF option, RAJ said.— Ryan Lawrence (@ryanlawrence21) March 31, 2015
Although Sizemore is signed to a major league contract, I don't think that necessarily guarantees him a spot on the team. Bogusevic, Danks, and Francoeur have all outperformed him this spring both in the field and with the bat. Grady looks like he's lost not one, not two, not three... but all of the steps. He's wheelchair accessible. Francoeur making the team seemed like destiny from the moment he signed; he was always a Phillie. I wouldn't be surprised if the 4th outfield spot came down to a battle between Danks and Bogusevic.
It's also possible that, like the 5th starter situation, there are appealing external options as well. Most notably, the Blue Jays seem set to release Dayan Viciedo, a.k.a. the only Cuban no one seems to want. He's only 26, but has already been in the league for 5 years and the results aren't exactly impressive. He owns a .254/.298/.424 line. On the positive, he has an ability to hit them dingers, averaging 20 over the last 3 seasons. On a team that is likely to have less power than the PECO Power Plays across the street (do they still do that?), dingers would be a welcome addition at least in so far as it allows me to say dingers more. Dingers dingers dingers.
Let's try to look at this positively: Brown's injury isn't a loss. Rather, it provides increased opportunities for the Phillies to experiment with different players and defensive alignments. Maybe with the extra roster spot, they find a valuable bench player for years to come or to trade in the summer. Hey, a guy can dream.