The free-agent period is still in its early stages, but the Philadelphia Phillies have already made their mark this offseason. They first brought in fan favorite and power lefty Jim Thome, signed their elite closer in Jonathan Papelbon and have just acquired utility player Ty Wigginton from the Rockies. Ruben Amaro has been able to fill some of the needs that the Phillies have, and even though he still has some work to do, the Phillies' 25-man roster is almost full.
As it stands, the players that are set to be on the 25-man roster are:
Catchers: Carlos Ruiz and Brian Schneider.
Infielders: Jim Thome, Ryan Howard (if healthy by opening day), Ty Wigginton, Chase Utley, Wilson Valdez and Placido Polanco.
Outfielders: Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, John Mayberry Jr and Ben Francisco.
Pitchers: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Vance Worley, Joe Blanton, Kyle Kendrick, Antonio Bastardo, Jose Contreras, Michael Stutes and Jonathan Papelbon.
As of now that would be 22 of their 25 potential big-league players, with remaining positions to fill at shortstop, outfield and relief pitcher. It is likely that the last reliever will come between a few in-house options (David Herndon, Michael Schwimmer, Justin De Fratus or Phillippe Aumont). So in reality there are just two spots remaining on the 2012 Philadelphia Phillies' opening day roster.
On multiple occasions, Amaro has stated that they will likely spend close to the same amount as what the club spent in 2011, which would leave them about $20 million to spend before hitting the luxury tax threshold.
So the question now is, what will the Phillies do with their remaining funds? For now, nobody knows but Amaro. But let's face it, he has something in store, just like he always does. It could be as simple as bringing back Jimmy Rollins and signing another quality reserve.
For an optimist like myself, I believe there is more to it than just that. With their remaining funds, they have clearly put themselves in position to get in the Jose Reyes sweepstakes if they so choose, or explore the trade market, which could feature names such as David Wright and Hanley Ramirez.
There are sure to be more intriguing names to become available via trade in the upcoming weeks, and we've seen in the past how the Phillies love to swing deals. I am excited to see the next domino to fall in the Phils offseason plan as I think the next one will be rather large.
Thank you all for reading, and feel free to voice your opinion below. Stay on your toes Phillies fans, because we're not done.