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News » Philadelphia Phillies Roster Report 2009-02-14


Philadelphia Phillies Roster Report 2009-02-14


Philadelphia Phillies Roster Report 2009-02-14
Now that they finally have won their first World Series championship since 1980, the Phillies are getting greedy. They want to repeat. But as they enter spring training, the Phillies still have questions. Who will be their No. 5 starter? Who will be their backup catcher? Is their lineup too left-handed? Spring training will provide some answers.

ARRIVALS: LF Raul Ibanez (free agent from Mariners), RHP Chan Ho Park (free agent from Dodgers), C Ronny Paulino (trade with Pirates), INF Marcus Giles (minor league free agent), RHP Gary Majewski (minor league free agent from Reds), INF Pablo Ozuna (minor league free agent from Dodgers), RHP Robert Mosebach (Rule 5 selection from Angels), OF John Mayberry (trade with Rangers).

DEPARTURES: LF Pat Burrell (free agent, signed with Rays), OF So Taguchi (free agent, signed minor league deal with Cubs), LHP Les Walrond (free agent, signed with team in Japan), RHP Tom Gordon (free agent, signed with Diamondbacks).

SPRING FOCUS: Most of the Phillies' championship nucleus remains intact, but there will be a few battles for jobs. Most intriguing will be the four-pitcher battle for the No. 5 spot in the rotation between veteran RHP Chan Ho Park, RHP Kyle Kendrick, rookie LHP J.A. Happ and rookie RHP Carlos Carrasco.

PROJECTED ROTATION:

1. LHP Cole Hamels

2. RHP Brett Myers

3. LHP Jamie Moyer

4. RHP Joe Blanton

5. RHP Kyle Kendrick or RHP Chan Ho Park or LHP J.A. Happ or RHP Carlos Carrasco

Hamels, already a top-flight ace, emerged as a big-game pitcher during the postseason when he went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA and was named MVP of both the NL Championship Series and the World Series. Moyer, the ageless wonder who led the Phils with 16 wins last season, returns at age 46 for his 23rd major league season. Blanton, acquired in a July trade with Oakland, begins his first full NL season.

But the key to the rotation may be Myers, who landed in the minors after a dreadful first three months of last season before posting a 1.80 ERA in 11 starts upon his return.

PROJECTED BULLPEN:

RHP Brad Lidge (closer)

RHP Ryan Madson

LHP Scott Eyre

RHP Chad Durbin

RHP Clay Condrey

RHP Chan Ho Park

Led by Lidge, the Phillies had the NL's top bullpen last season, a big reason they were able to overtake the Mets to win the division. The group will be weakened early in 2009, as LHP J.C. Romero will serve a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a substance banned by Major League Baseball's drug policy. Thus, the burden for getting out tough left-handed hitters will fall to Eyre.

Madson emerged as the Phillies' setup man last September and will reprise the role. In his first full season as a reliever, Durbin posted a 2.87 ERA and led NL relievers with 87 2/3 innings.

PROJECTED LINEUP:

1. SS Jimmy Rollins

2. CF Shane Victorino

3. 2B Chase Utley

4. 1B Ryan Howard

5. LF Raul Ibanez

6. RF Jayson Werth

7. 3B Pedro Feliz

8. C Carlos Ruiz

There's switch-hitting speed at the top (Rollins and Victorino) and left-handed power in the middle (Utley, Howard, Ibanez). The Phillies expect Ibanez to be a more consistent hitter than Pat Burrell, who averaged more than 30 home runs and 90 RBIs over the past four seasons but was prone to prolonged hot and cold spells.

The Phillies scored nearly 100 fewer runs last season than in 2007 because the bottom of the lineup wasn't as productive. Werth offers a mix of speed and power, and the Phillies believe he has 30-homer/30-steal potential if he stays healthy enough to get 600 at-bats. They also expect Feliz to have more success in his second season at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park.

PROJECTED RESERVES:

INF Greg Dobbs

INF Eric Bruntlett

OF Matt Stairs

OF Geoff Jenkins

C Chris Coste or C Ronny Paulino

Like the starting lineup, the bench tilts to the left. Dobbs, Stairs and Jenkins are all left-handed hitters, leaving the Phillies looking for another right-handed bat. They have talked to veteran INF Nomar Garciaparra, but he hasn't committed to playing in 2009. It's possible they'll try to trade Jenkins or Stairs, although it'll be difficult to move Jenkins' large contract.

Coste also could serve as a right-handed pinch hitter if he loses the backup catcher battle to Paulino.

TOP ROOKIES: RHP Carlos Carrasco showed maturity to match his electric stuff last season in the minors and will be in contention for the No. 5 starter job. INF Jason Donald emerged as a top prospect at Class AA Reading and with the U.S. Olympic team last summer. He could make the team if 2B Chase Utley is unable to start the season on time after November hip surgery.

MEDICAL WATCH:

2B Chase Utley (right hip surgery in November 2008) remains on track with his rehabilitation and is optimistic that he'll be ready for Opening Day.

3B Pedro Feliz (lower back surgery in November 2008) may not be ready to play in early spring training games but is expected to be ready for Opening Day.

LHP Mike Zagurski (elbow ligament reconstruction in April 2008) is hoping to pitch in a few games by the end of spring training.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: February 14, 2009

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