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Phillies Add 11 to 40-Man Roster

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The Phillies 40 man is now entirely composed of prospects.

A disappointing year won't keep Nick Williams and his smile off the 40 man roster
A disappointing year won't keep Nick Williams and his smile off the 40 man roster
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Today was the deadline for teams to add players to the 40 man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft (which will take place on the last day of the Winter Meetings). It has been no secret that the Phillies had a lot of players to protect and that there were going to be some casualties both in terms of players purged from the roster and players left unprotected. The Phillies ended up adding 11 new players to the roster, and, to do so, they had to clear three spaces.

Let's start with the players added to the roster. The obvious ones that everyone knew were RHP Ben Lively, RHP Mark Appel, OF Dylan Cozens, C Andrew Knapp, OF Nick Williams, and RHP Nick Pivetta. All six of them are high profile players in the organization, and all but Cozens played in AAA and should see the majors at some point during the 2016 season. Also joining them from the high minors are RHP Ricardo Pinto, LHP Elniery Garcia, and 2B Jesmuel Valentin. Pinto had a down year, but even if he cannot stick in the rotation he has upside in the bullpen. Valentin is probably a utility player, but he has a chance to be a regular at second base. Garcia only has one game in AA and it was a start in the Eastern League playoffs where he showed major league caliber stuff from the left side, Garcia added more velocity this season and his curveball is a good second pitch.

In addition to the high minors prospects the Phillies added two A-ball pitchers. Alberto Tirado pitched a level lower in 2016 after ending 2015 in high-A, but he found control in the starting rotation and was dominant down the stretch for Lakewood. His lack of changeup and still-suspect control make his future likely in the bullpen, but with a fastball that sat 96-98 T100 in the rotation and a wipeout slider he could be a very good pitcher in a relief role. RHP Drew Anderson does not have a lot of name recognition, which is the result of being a low round pick who missed most of two seasons due to injury. However, after Tommy John in 2015 Anderson was back healthy in 2016 and he blazed through A-ball showing better stuff than he did before the injury. His fastball was reportedly up to 97 by the end of the season and he was knocking the rust off of his command. Anderson still needs to work on his secondary pitches, but he has the stuff to be a good starting pitcher. There are some that worry that his skinny frame and injury history will force him to the bullpen long term.

To add all these players, three players had to go. The first two were obvious as Elvis Aruajo was claimed off waivers by the Marlins and David Buchanan was designated for assignment. The third player to go was Jimmy Cordero. Cordero was the source of a lot of excitement last winter as he finished up a breakout season that saw him touch 102 with his fastball. His 2016 season was a disaster as shoulder and bicep injuries set his control back, but more importantly made him a pitcher who sat more 94-97 with his fastball. Now the question you may be asking is why Cordero and not Luis Garcia, Adam Morgan, Phil Klein, Severino Gonzalez, or Cody Asche? This move does not make those five safe, however, the Phillies ran into problems with protecting all of their prospects and fielding a major league team.

Right now the Phillies are expected to have the 11 prospects protected, plus Tyler Goeddel and Jorge Alfaro start the year in the minors. They could also see Roman Quinn join them. That is 13-14 players and the basic math says you get at most 15 members of you minor league team on the 40-man during the year. Also the Phillies have Zach Eflin, Jake Thompson, and Alec Asher in a fight for the 5th spot in the rotation, that means two of them are going to the minors or the bullpen. That puts the Phillies at 15 players in the minors if Quinn makes the team or one of the starters goes to the major league bullpen. Right now the Phillies still need two more bench pieces (one who can play SS), a backup catcher, and 2 relievers. Don't worry your favorite major league player to hate is likely still on the chopping block.

As for players not protected, the notable names are Carlos Tocci, Andrew Pullin, Seranthony Dominguez, Deivi Grullon, Jose Pujols, Malquin Canelo, Tom Windle, Miguel Nunez, and Hoby Milner. There is a lot to say about them, but we will get to that when we get closer to the draft.