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News » Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2009-01-03

Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2009-01-03

Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2009-01-03
Charlie Manuel will never forget 2008, the year he led the Phillies to a World Series championship. And though the calendar flipped to 2009, the good times don't have to end.

Manuel, for one, believes the Phillies can repeat as champs.

"With the type of club we've got, the way we look at things, I think we have a good attitude and stand a good chance to do it again," Manuel said last month at the annual winter meetings in Las Vegas. "I think we can repeat. I don't see why not."

But the Phillies needed another late-season surge (they went 13-3 after Sept. 10) to overtake the New York Mets and win the NL East. They then defeated the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Division Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Championship Series and the upstart Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series.

The Phillies will have a similar composition in 2009. Every key member of the 2008 club is returning save for left fielder Pat Burrell, who will be replaced by free agent addition Raul Ibanez. The Phillies re-signed their other prominent free agents, including left-hander Jamie Moyer.

"I think Ryan Howard is going to have a bigger year than he had (last) year," Manuel said, "and I think (Chase) Utley definitely can have a better year. Jimmy Rollins can definitely do better. You can always do better, so I think we'll definitely be in the hunt, and if we get down there in September, I think we have a good chance."

No team has repeated as World Series champs since the New York Yankees in 1999 and 2000, and a National League team hasn't won back-to-back World Series since the Cincinnati Reds in 1975-76. The NL hasn't even had a repeat pennant winner since the Atlanta Braves in 1995-96.

"The team is pretty much intact, and after meeting with (GM) Ruben Amaro, I knew the commitment to winning was still there and it's going to be there moving forward," Ibanez said after signing his three-year, $31.5 million contract. "They were not only concerned about winning this season. They were concerned about winning for several seasons."

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: January 3, 2009

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