Friday, March 31, 2006
What Does 2006 Hold For the Phillies?
Overall their lineup should produce plenty of pop. Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Bobby Abreu, Pat Burrell, Aaron Rowand, and Jimmy Rollins provide six quality hitters on an every day basis.
Third base is a major problem for the team if David Bell is “healthy”. No Phillies fan should have any confidence that Bell will produce much more than ends of rallies at the plate. His defense is fine, but replaceable.
Also, Charlie Manuel still manages the team. Somehow, he didn’t get traded to the White Sox with Jim Thome.
Can the pitching staff do their part? Jon Leiber and Randy Myers have shown their worth, but they only make up 40 percent of the rotation. Gavin Floyd and Ryan Madson most definitely have the stuff, but they are unproven. And what about the bullpen? Tom Gordon is a significant step back from Billy Wagner. Can Arthur Rhodes be consistent?
The Three Things That Must Happen For The Team To Be Successful
1. Ryan Howard must be a force in the middle of the lineup.
2. Bobby Abreu must have a more consistent season at the plate from April through September.
3. Gavin Floyd and Ryan Madson must produce many quality starts. This is the biggest question of all. Neither has shown at the big league level they are ready to be quality starters. If these guys falter, things could get real ugly.
Third place. Until Atlanta gets knocked off, they must be considered the division favorites. Also, one of these years, the Mets’ off-season moves are going to put them in the mix. Billy Wagner is a proven closer that will be 1000 times more reliable than Braden Looper ever was. The Marlins went through yet another fire sale. The Nationals should also struggle.