Wednesday, August 01, 2012
What To Root For
1) Figuring out the bullpen. Papelbon is the closer, but what else do they have heading into 2013? Newly acquired Josh Lindblom is 25 years old and has posted a 2.91 ERA and 1.18 WHIP through the first 75 appearances of his career. Those numbers seem solid enough to insert him into the 8th inning setup role for the remainder of 2012. Michael Schwimer, who has posted a 2.21 ERA and 1.08 WHIP over the past two months, seems to be progressing towards becoming a big league mainstay. Don't forget about lefty Jeremy Horst, courtesy of the Wilson Valdez trade, who has only pitched 10 innings, but has been impressive thus far (0.90 ERA/1.00 WHIP). Then there's the mysterious case of Antonio Bastardo who was one of the best relievers in baseball for the first few months of 2011, but has been wildly inconsistent and maddening ever since. Also, Justin De Fratus is toiling in Triple-A working his way back from injury waiting for the chance to show his stuff. By my count, that gives the Phillies 5-6 good relievers heading 2013, so Amaro may only need to spend money this offseason on 1 legit bullpen piece.
What To Root For- the young relievers to continue developing over the next two months and head into next season poised to be part of the Phillies return to supremacy.
2) Figuring out the rotation. Halladay, Hamels, Lee, and Worley are set. That's a pretty good top 4. However, a 5th starter is needed, one that is better than Blanton or Kendrick. Tyler Cloyd anyone? He is 13-1 in 21 starts and 134.1 innings with a 1.94 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 93 K.
What To Root For- Blanton to be traded soon, KK to remain in the bullpen, and Cloyd to get a 8-10 start audition for the 5th slot in the 2013 Phillies rotation.
3) Figuring out the outfield. Domonic Brown is going to get a chance to play and win an outfield job for next season. Whether that be in LF, CF, or RF is yet to be determined. I vote left field with a platoon of Mayberry/Schierholtz/Nix in right field. John Mayberry has destroyed left-handed pitching during his career (.291/.901) while Nate Schierholtz (.265/.731) and Laynce Nix (.254/.750) have fared better against righties than Mayberry has. All three of them are nothing more than 4th outfielders, so combine them into one starting outfielder. That leaves center field open. Hmm...
What To Root For- Dom to hold his own over the next 59 games and lockup LF. Pierre to be traded so Manuel is forced to play Mayberry, Schierholtz, and Nix to see if they can be part of the outfield puzzle for 2013. Amaro to sign Michael Bourn or Melky Cabrera to play CF for 5 YR/$75M.
4) Figuring out the infield. Utley, J-Roll, and Howard are all back; older and still injury-prone. Polly will be gone. Who mans the hot corner and who are the utility infielders? The free agent market looks bleak, but Amaro can get creative, just as I would (I should be a GM after all).
What To Root For- Polanco and Wigginton to be traded so Frandsen and Fontenot get the majority of playing time at 3rd and UTL for the the rest of the year (*Also, so Amaro isn't tempted to pickup Wiggy's 2013 option at $4M). Amaro to sign Jeff Keppinger to play third base next season for 2 YR/$6M. Depending on the play of Fontenot and/or Frandsen, look into signing Ryan Theriot, Marco Scutaro, or Maicer Izturis for UTL.
1) Bourn/CF or Rollins/SS
2) Rollins/SS or Cabrera/CF
6) Mayberry/Schierholtz/Nix RF
7 & 8) Scutaro, Theriot, M. Izturis, Fransden, or Fontenot UTL
10) Bourn or M. Cabrera CF
24) De Fratus/RP