One Thing to Watch as Phillies Spring Training Begins
Phillies pitchers and catchers are heading for Clearwater for the start of the 2021 season.
The team made a plethora of moves to help make a playoff push for the first time since the 2011 season, but plenty of questions still need to be answered at spring training.
ESPN senior baseball writer Dave Schoenfield listed one thing to watch on all 30 MLB teams as spring training begins.
Here is what he says about the 2021 Phillies.
The Phillies re-signed J.T. Realmuto and Didi Gregorius and acquired Archie Bradley to be their ninth-inning reliever. So the primary questions for spring training are the same ones that dogged the team in 2020: center field, rotation depth and bullpen depth. Who takes the center-field job between Scott Kingery, Adam Haseley and Roman Quinn? (You do wonder if Jackie Bradley Jr. ends up here.)
They've brought in Matt Moore and Chase Anderson to battle Spencer Howard and Vince Velasquez for the final two rotation spots. Hard-throwing Jose Alvarado and Sam Coonrod are potential late-game options to set up Bradley and Hector Neris.
The Phillies biggest questions are the same questions they had a season ago - who will play centerfield, do they have enough starting pitching and can their bullpen hold leads and close games out.
It appears to be a three-man battle in centerfield, and its possible a fourth name could be entering the fray with Scott Kingery, Adam Haseley, Roman Quinn and potentially Odubel Herrera all getting a look in center.
The starting rotation battle will feature incumbents Spencer Howard and Vince Velasquez, who will battle veterans Matt Moore, Chase Anderson and Ivan Nova for the final two spots in the rotation.
In the bullpen, free agent additions Archie Bradley and Brandon Kintzler will battle Hecor Neris battling for the ninth inning role with the loser likely finding roles in the 7th and 8th inning. Other names to keep an eye on are Jose Alvarado, Sam Coonrod and Connor Brogdon.
New year, same questions, but if the bullpen is better - and it should be - the team could be in play for its first playoff berth since the 2011 season.
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