Philadelphia News & Search
“A dream come true,” said Stassi, holding back tears.
The Phillies finalized their 25-man roster Thursday with Opening Day on Monday in Cincinnati. In the end there were few true surprises, if any. The Phillies had a remarkably quiet camp. Everybody stayed healthy. Nobody put their job in jeopardy.
Cameron Rupp is the everyday catcher; Tommy Joseph, Cesar Hernandez, Maikel Franco and Freddy Galvis are the everyday infielders; and Howie Kendrick, Odubel Herrera and Michael Saunders are the everyday outfielders.
Jeanmar Gomez, Hector Neris, Joaquin Benoit, Pat Neshek and Edubray Ramos entered camp as locks to make the bullpen. Utility infielder Andres Blanco and fourth outfielder Aaron Altherr opened camp as locks, too.
Each of them made the team as expected.
Basically, the Phillies opened camp with five jobs undecided: backup catcher, plus two other bench jobs; and two bullpen jobs.
MLB.com took a crack at the Opening Day roster before camp opened in February. It predicted Andrew Knapp, Chris Coghlan and Stassi would make the bench. Knapp and Stassi made the team. Coghlan got released this week, and was signed by the Blue Jays. Daniel Nava won a job instead.
Knapp was considered the favorite over catchers Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday because it seemed to make more sense for Knapp to backup Rupp in the big leagues than Jorge Alfaro in Triple-A. (Alfaro is the No. 72 prospect in baseball, according to MLBPipeline.com.) Plus, Knapp already had a spot on the 40-man roster.
Stassi, who was a non-roster invitee, got a pre-camp nod because he is a stellar defensive first baseman, hits left-handed and has a knack for getting on base.
“He could be a bench player in the mold of Greg Dobbs and Ross Gload,” MLB.com wrote at the time.
Nava simply outplayed Coghlan in camp, but his spot on the team is not a huge surprise.
MLB.com wrote at the time, “Coghlan gets the edge over Daniel Nava for the final spot, but that can change in Spring Training.”
It also predicted left-handers Joely Rodriguez and Sean Burnett would make the bullpen, mentioning Adam Morgan as somebody with a good shot. Rodriguez and Morgan made the bullpen. Burnett was released earlier this week.
Morgan is another good story from camp. He pitched well last spring, but was optioned to Triple-A to make room for Velasquez in the rotation. The news crushed him. So when Morgan got called into the manager’s office Thursday and took a seat, he had no clue if he would be optioned again.
This time he got good news.
“I could feel my pulse in my head,” Morgan said. “You’re just numb. Then I sat down and they said, ‘You’re going with us.’ I could’ve cried right there. It’s been a crazy last week.”
A crazy week for Stassi and Morgan, but now the real fun starts.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Philadelphia News & Search