5 Biggest Winners and Losers of Philadelphia Phillies Spring Training
Spring training is nearly over for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Before they open the 2014 regular season against the formidable Texas Rangers in Arlington, the Phillies will fly back from Clearwater to play the annual On-Deck Series. "As has been a tradition since Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004," says the Phillies website.
As for the Phillies' spring training performances, they were a mixed bag. Read on for the most notable winners and losers from these exhibition games as we get ready for the important games to begin.
LOSER: Jimmy Rollins
Jimmy Rollins had merely a poor spring training between the chalk lines. "Merely," because his spring training off the field was an embarrassing display of petulance, selfishness and arrogance.
"I can’t be traded," Rollins famously said recently per Jon Tayler of SI.com. "It doesn’t matter. I don’t care which way it is tried to be twisted or said, or if it is exactly how it was said, or even if it was said, I can’t be traded. It doesn’t matter," Rollins emphasized.
Why would the Phillies want to trade Rollins? Well, aside from his obvious leadership qualities, he is coming off his worst offensive full season ever, he will make $11 million this season, and he is hitting .200 in Clearwater.
Again, though, he can't be traded. So there's nothing to see here.
WINNER: Ben Revere
Jimmy Rollins is drawing all the wrong kind of attention with his poor play and worse attitude. Ben Revere, by contrast, is quietly serving notice that he is primed for a breakout 2014 season.
Revere is hitting .345 this spring and is leading the team in hits with 19. He has scored nine runs and stolen five bases in 17 games.
Revere is making it happen at the top of the Phillies lineup. If he continues to get on base regularly, the old men getting paid all that money behind him will have to drive him in to earn their keep.
LOSER: Maikel Franco
The Phillies would have loved to see Maikel Franco show up in Clearwater back in February, start raking and never stop until he got to Philadelphia.
Cody Asche underwhelmed at third base last year and is hitting .205 this spring. The third base job was there for the taking for Franco.
He just is not ready yet.
Much the way Darin Ruf came to spring training in 2013 with high hopes and underdeveloped skills, Franco is proving himself just shy of being ready to compete at the major league level this spring.
Franco is hitting .184. Broadcasters and fans can talk all they want about how hard Franco is hitting the ball or what bad luck he is hitting into. Ultimately, Rasheed Wallace said it best: Ball don't lie.
WINNER: David Buchanan
Per the Associated Press, "David Buchanan kept up his bid for a major league roster spot, striking two over two perfect innings Monday in the Philadelphia Phillies' 6-3, rain-shortened win over the Toronto Blue Jays."
Buchanan has stated a compelling case for inclusion on the 25-man roster with gaudy spring numbers: an earned run average of 2.25, a WHIP well under one and an opposition batting average of 1.46.
The fact the Phillies do not need a fifth starter (due to the way their schedule falls) until the middle of April might actually help Buchanan make the club coming north.
Buchanan has manager Ryne Sandberg's attention.
"I just like his consistency, and his ability to pitch down in the strike zone," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "Throws four pitches for strikes. He's shown a lot of maturity and stuff."
LOSER: Domonic Brown
When you get down to it, Domonic Brown made the All-Star team on his first-half numbers in 2013 and did very little to impress anyone after the break.
So Brown came to spring training with some lingering questions about his status as an everyday player capable of sustaining All-Star production over a full season.
Brown's performance in Clearwater did not answer many of those questions. Or if it did, the answers were not what any Phillies fan hoped for.
Brown is hitting .196 and striking out just shy of one-third of the times he registers an at-bat. And no home runs through 46 at-bats is not a good sign, either.
He is tied with prodigious walk-drawing machine Bobby Abreu with nine, but that is not the category Brown can realistically hope to lead the Phillies in this season.
It was supposed to be home runs or runs batted in. Fortunately, like everyone else, Brown gets to reset the counters on March 31.