If you are a Phillies fan, you are probably quite concerned right now about the upcoming season. Ryan Howard? Concern. Chase Utley? Don’t get me started. The old are old, cough Jim Thome, who hasn’t played first base in five years but might be our starter for the foreseeable future. The young are practically newborns, hello Freddy Galvis. They even injure themselves while sleeping through their disappointing play. Yes, Domonic Brown.
First, some positives: Our pitchers still make up arguably the best rotation in baseball. Although Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, our superstars of excellence, have not completely lit it up this spring training, no need to be majorly concerned. Our younger horse and World Series champion, Cole Hamels, needs to be locked up with a major contract and the Phillies would be insane not to keep him. However, the idea of him earning his contract may work out for us. I am also of the belief that Vance Worley will continue to become a young stud.
Pardon my gushing but I do believe Hunter Pence will be our beacon of light. He’s in his prime and he loves this city, so let’s go eat. John Mayberry Jr. will finally get a lot of looks, whether in the outfield or at first base. The guy has talent and just needs the opportunities.
Here comes the not-so-lovely analysis: it is possible that our two best players who led us to our World Series victory could be playing bumper cars in their Hover Rounds outside the dugout for the majority of the season. The rest of our infield, sans the spring chicken Galvis, could be joining them with walkers. Placido Polanco is old, prone to injury and under-producing when he is fully healthy, which is hardly ever. Side note, he has had a very nice spring training so let’s hope that continues. Jimmy Rollins, well, he could be great or most likely, he’ll be parking in a handicapped spot too.
Although I’m not completely against the notion of blowing up and starting again, we must keep in mind that teams go through phases. The Phillies are now worth an estimated $723 million according to Forbes, so I don’t think we have to worry about them becoming an irrelevant team. Even if this year is more of a struggle than recent years, the red pinstripes will not fall by the way side.