The addition of Chad Qualls adds another body to the heap of players who will scratch and claw for playing time in front of officials, coaches and scouts this spring.
The Phillies have hit the point where another "low-risk flier," like the kind they could extend to Dmitri Young, for example, would probably do more harm than good. Young, who hasn't played since 2008, worked out for the Phillies recently. The reason they should pass, just as the Reds and Tigers determined: the Phils are about to bring one of the largest - if not the largest - groups of qualified, talented and experienced candidates to Clearwater. The field is deep and rich with potential. Based on sheer numbers, there's an excellent chance the Phils will uncover a diamond in the rough among their inventory of reclamation projects and kids.
Adding another body will just create noise. That's precisely what non-roster bullpen candidates like Dave Bush, Scott Elarton, Pat Misch, Joel Pineiro, David Purcey, Brian Sanches and Raul Valdes will try to cut through this spring, not to mention rookies like Michael Schwimer, Joe Savery, Jake Diekman, Justin De Fratus and J.C. Ramirez.
I'm sure these guys were thrilled by Qualls.
For a veteran, elite team like the Phillies - one that is rapidly aging but expected to win - high-upside guys like Domonic Brown, Sebastian Valle, Phillippe Aumont and De Fratus, considered the Phillies' best, young talent, need to have their playing time prioritized. Every roster battle (Scott Podsednik vs. Juan Pierre; the battle over the final spots in the bullpen) clogs bandwidth that would otherwise go to a prospect. Brown may be ticketed for Lehigh Valley, but giving his spring at bats to a veteran like Pierre is something of a waste, especially when you know what you're going to get in Pierre and don't know exactly what you have in Brown.
It's precisely why Ruben Amaro Jr. now must adopt his colleagues' stance on Young. ”I talked to Dmitri about it,” Reds GM Walt Jocketty said in mid-January. “We have a large number of players coming to training camp, and it takes away playing time from some of our younger guys.”
More bodies also makes it harder to identify overall club strengths and weeknesses, and limits time to showcase players for other teams. Joe Blanton, for example, will likely be shopped this spring, but innings will obviously be at a premium.