Sunday, March 30, 2008

Out Of The Running

The 2008 Phillies should be entertaining and frustrating in equal proportions, which works out to a average season of 81 wins and no post-season appearance. They can hit and they can catch the ball, but their pitching is far too thin to carry them beyond the regular season.

Talking about acquiring arms and having the means -- financially or in terms of trading chips -- is an altogether different matter. One thing is clear, however: Pat Gillick and his alleged brain trust have spent their modest resources very unwisely over the last few seasons acquiring hurlers of known questionable health (Freddy Garcia and Brad Lidge) or dubious distinction (Adam Eaton). Before readers jump all over me for including Lidge on this list please check the active roster and get back to me. A team that is desperate to avoid the poor starts of the last few years can ill-afford to have its closer start the season on the DL.

Nearly everyone is picking the Phils to finish second behind the Mets. A few even see them finishing behind the Braves, whose strengths and weaknesses closely mirror their own. For a third straight year the potent nucleus of the best overall infield in baseball will watch as their production is frittered away by their own pitching staff. Overall, the power in the NL has shifted west. The two best teams might be Arizona and Colorado. If the Rockies get good pitching and their own wonderful nucleus can approach last year's collective production, they are my pick for league champions.


Anonymous said...

I do believe either the Phillies have squandered a huge opportunity to win it all by not getting the pitching to match an infield for the ages or...they will get to the World Series because of the luck that Pat Gillick seems to carry with him from team to team. His track record is great and although it doesn't seem like he did much in his tenure here they made the playoffs for the first time in 14 years. I think he will retire on a high note and the Phils will surprise us all!

Anonymous said...

It seems to be the conventional wisdom that 'the Phillies have squandered their chances' of winning with a dynamic offensive core in its prime by not 'getting enough pitching'. What pitching is there to be had? The Phillies do not develop enough talent. Therefore, they have no way of making themselves better. Every year it's the same story, and the next year's outcome can be predicted on October 1 of the previous year. They have no ability to maneuver. They are mired in above-averageness and have been for the entire decade. The fans keep gearing up for this team because it's exciting, gritty, etc. And eternally one step away. By now, we should all know full well what to expect, and the best we can hope for is that the competition again lowers itself beneath the Phillies' level.


Tom Goodman said...

I'll take talent over luck any time. As for their failure to develop talent, I have to agree that identifying pitching in the draft would seem to be a more productive approach than trying to acquire it via trades, Steve Carlton notwithstanding.