The Phillies' 40-man roster is four deep at shortstop after the Phillies claimed 22-year-old Carlos Rivero off waivers from the Indians. He hit .232/.278/.325 with six homers last season with Double-A Akron. (AP Photo)
Rivero, a 6-3, 210-pound right-handed hitter with raw power, has more in common with popular would-have-been Phillie Jason Donald than you might think. Put it this way; Rivero is more Donald than Brian Bocock. Donald gets the edge overall, but based on the scouting reports, their power and serviceable defensive tools match up. So do their strikeout and walk totals; Rivero, who will be 23 in May, walked 50 times and struck out 73 times in 2009, his first season at Double-A. As a matter of fact, Baseball America rated them only two spots apart (15th for Donald, 17th for for Rivero) in their most recent prospect annual. While Rivero earns high marks for his arm, they seperate with speed; Rivero is rated with below-average lateral range and wheels, which might help explain why he isn't legging out many hits despite putting the ball in play so much. You can't teach speed, which might be why the Indians couldn't afford to protect him on their 40-man roster any longer. The Phillies will be making the same tough cuts in the coming days and weeks. They're holding 34 players on their 40-man roster and there are a number of intriguing Rule 5-eligible players they need to consider protecting, including pitcher turned first baseman Joe Savery and Matt Rizzotti. Obviously, shortstop is at a much higher premium, and let's face it, shortstop is fast becoming the Phillies' thinnest area.
Hot stove: Expect the free agent signing season to move at glacial speeds. Add to it the fact that those of us who write about the Phillies are in November hibernation. So far, the Phillies have reportedly had internal discussions about free agent Magglio Ordonez and have talked about trading for Aaron Rowand if the Giants are willing to eat a sizeable portion of his contract. Yeah, I'm only getting around to writing about this now, and didn't even say goodbye to Greg Dobbs or Jamie Moyer. Sue me.