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Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on February 27, 2008
2007 Record 89-73
First in the NL East
Home: Citizens Bank Park
Phanatically looking for a Cheesesteak:
1B â€“ Andy Tracy* - Free Agency
3B â€“ Pedro Feliz - Free Agency
OF â€“ Geoff Jenkins - Free Agency
OF â€“ Chris Snelling â€“ Traded from Rays
OF â€“ So Taguchi â€“ Free Agency
OF â€“ Brandon Watson* - Free Agency
OF â€“ Valentino Pascucci* - Free Agency
RP â€“ Brad Lidge â€“ Free Agency
RP â€“ Chad Durbin â€“ Free Agency
RHP â€“ Kris Wilson* - Free Agency
RHP â€“ Lincoln Holdzkom â€“ Rule V draft pick
LHP â€“ Travis Blackley â€“ Rule V draft pick
LHP â€“ Vic Darensbourg* - Free Agency
LHP â€“ Shane Youman â€“ Waivers from Pirates
Fleeing that green monster (the Phanatic â€“ just so I donâ€™t get e-mails about Fenway)
C â€“ Rod Barajas â€“ Free Agent to Jays
2B â€“ Tadahito Iguchiâ€“ Free Agent to Padres
3B â€“ Abraham Nunez*â€“ Free Agent to Brewers
OF â€“ Michael Bourne â€“ Traded to Astros
OF â€“ Aaron Rowand â€“ Free Agent to Giants
OF â€“ Chris Robertson â€“ Traded to Orioles
RP â€“ Antonio Alfonseca - Free Agent
RP â€“ Geoff Geary â€“ Traded to Astros
RP â€“ Jose Mesa â€“ Free Agent
SP â€“ John Lieber â€“ Free Agent to Cubs
SP â€“ Kyle Lohseâ€“ Free Agent
SP â€“ Freddy Garcia â€“ Free Agent
The Skinny: The Phillies moved into last year's post season almost by default when the Mets crumbled and squandered a 7.5 game lead in the last 17 games of the season. Thatâ€™s not to say that the Phillies didnâ€™t play some great baseball but it certainly exposed their weaknesses â€“ especially when they went out and got swept by the Rockies who out pitched as well as out hit the Philadelphia nine.
Strengths: The Phillies scored almost 900 runs (892) last season and ranked first in runs scored in the National League and second overall in the Majors. They could match, or even surpass that number this season but replacing of Aaron Rowand might be harder than just looking at the statistics lost. Some describe him as part of the glue that held this team together but thatâ€™s probably overstating the case and the additions of Geoff Jenkins and Pedro Feliz should at least keep the Phillies in the same offensive realm.
Weaknesses and Questions: As good as the Phillies hitting was last season the pitching was equivalently bad. The team finished 13th out of 16 NL teams, ahead of just Pittsburgh, Florida and Cincinnati and allowed 821 runs to score to go along with a team ERA of 4.73 â€“ mainly due to a lack of starting pitching after 15 game winner Cole Hamels. Adding Brett Myers, who started for 4 seasons should give the staff a little more backbone but the team needs someone, ideally 26 year old Travis Blackley, or 24 year old Kyle Kendrick to take a step up and show that last year wasnâ€™t a fluke but a building block. Both have some significant flaws but the Phillies need them to improve. Theyâ€™ll also need another successful season from the ancient Jamie Moyer or a bounce back season by Adam Eaton.
The bullpen like most bullpens today is cobbled together with questionable arms which are prone to injury, mental questions and stuff that sometimes seems to go missing for an entire season. Outside of Ryan Madson and J.C. Romero there are no sure things in the Philly pen. Key set up man Tom Gordon is 40 years old and an injury risk. Closer Brad Lidge has been inconsistent and spotted bad pitches since 2005 and wonâ€™t enjoy a park dubbed â€śCoors Field Eastâ€ť which could eat at his confidence if he has a bad inning or two.
Jimmy Rollins (SS)
Shane Vitorino (CF)
Chase Utley (2B)
Ryan Howard (1B)
Pat Burrell (LF)
Geoff Jenkins (RF)
Pedro Feliz (3B)
Carlos Ruiz (C)
Travis Blackley/Kyle Kendrick
Keys to success: The Phillies donâ€™t need a huge amount of luck to move forward again this season, but they do need to see better pitching if they want to contend for anything. That means better starting pitching and a reliable bullpen both have to gel while the team continues to hit on the pace itâ€™s capable of.
Prediction: The Phillies will find this season to be a lot tougher than last season in terms of capturing a title. The Braves look to be a stronger team than they were last year as do the Mets, who after acquiring Johan Santana could potentially field four 15 game winners this season and can expect better production from guys like Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado and even Moises Alou. Iâ€™m going to go out on a limb and call the Phillies the second best team in the East for that reason.