We are back once again with the 97.3 ESPN Phillies Mailbag.   We take your Phillies questions and answer them on on The Sports Bash with Mike Gill.  Tune in Tuesday afternoons to hear your questions answered on the air.

Who would your Opening Day starter be? Seventh year for Nola or Ace in Wheeler?

The Phillies signed both their top two pitchers this offseason.  First, Aaron Nola signed a new seven-year deal to remain with the Phillies after hitting free agency.  Then Zack Wheeler signed a new three-year extension that will keep Wheeler with the Phillies beyond this year, which is the final year of his initial five-year free agent contract prior to the 2020 season.  Both would be good candidates to be starting pitchers.

For me personally, I would choose Nola.  Nola has started the last six seasons on Opening Day.  He is the homegrown player, and, he just made a statement by signing a deal that took less money but kept him in Philadelphia.  I sort of view Nola as the incumbent of sorts.

That's not to say that Wheeler would not be worthy.  Joe Edinger of the Phillies website The Good Phight recently compared Wheeler's four years as a Phillie versus the four years as a Phillie for Roy Halladay.  The numbers are quite similar; Wheeler actually came out ahead of Halladay for WAR, 19.7 to 16.2.

Wheeler is not the type of player to worry about who pitches first.  I do not see him feeling slighted in the least.

Ultimately, it may very well be Wheeler.  Nola is due to have a child in the vicinity of Opening Day.  If the baby comes on March 28, it may be Wheeler.  I don't think anyone would mind either way.

There’s no way Pache doesn’t make this team right?

Cristian Pache was picked up by the Phillies in a March 30 trade last season.  He gave the Phillies a strong glove and a right-handed bat, something that the team could have used.  But the injury bug bit Pache two separate times last season, so he arguably hasn't had the chance to show what his talent would translate to in a full season.

Therefore, I think the Phillies will be sure hang on to him.  Pache has looked good this Spring, batting 300 with a pair of home runs.  But he has also down what he does best: flash leather.

I've often said that he profiles similarly to Johan Rojas, and indeed there may be a bit of competition.  I think that the Phillies are very much open to sending Rojas to Triple-A, which he skipped last season, to get some more at bats before he lands in the Major Leagues permanently.

Rojas has been striking out over 20% of the time this Spring, while batting .152.  That could be enough to make the Phillies decide to give him some time at Triple-A.  The Phillies have plenty of roster options on the 40-man roster beyond Rojas.

The Phillies have also tended to keep talent around instead of losing them.  Pache is out of options and would need to be made available to the rest of the league before he could be outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.  I think they will want to hang onto him, whether Rojas is there or not.

But as similar players, it might make more sense to keep Pache and let Rojas develop at Triple-A.

In your opinion who will be the Phillies closer? If you had to choose just one guy. Thanks for your time!

We remember plenty of big name closers in Philadelphia.  Tug McGraw and Brad Lidge highlighted the World Series winning teams.  And in between Mitch Williams was the closer for the 1993 Championship team.  But I would look more to 2022 for the closer.

The Phillies did not have a dedicated closer in 2022. The signing of Corey Knebel the closer for the start of 2022.  But by the end, the duo of Seranthony Dominguez and Jose Alvarado were the bullpen story that earned the Phillies the National League Championship and to the World Series.

I would like to see a healthy Dominguez pitching as well as he did in 2022.  If the Phillies have that, I would match Dominguez and Alvarado at the end of the game according to matchups.  Whether one has the 8th and one has the 9th, should not matter, as long as they are slotted the best place to win.

Dominguez has looked good this Spring.  In four appearances he has a 2.25 ERA, with a 0.75 WHIP.  He has struck out five in the four innings he pitched.

If Dominguez struggles, Orion Kerkering will likely have a chance to show that he belongs and would be able to fill that role.  Kerkering has thrown just 21 pitches this Spring, covering two innings.  He has allowed one hit and struck out two.

So while I did not give you a single name, I think the 2022 duo that helped the Phillies win would be the way to go.

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