Every day, I will be presenting a season preview for individual MLB teams. Today we look at the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Philadelphia Phillies had another successful off-season and are primed for a third straight trip to the World Series. The aquisition of Roy Halladay, and his subsequent three-year signing, gives them an ace they can rely on without question for the long-term. But losing Lee was a punch to the gut to all Phils fans, GM Ruben Amaro explained that it was a necessity for the long-term health of the farm system. Let's analyze the deal.
It's all a big gamble. Amaro and management have decided that they would rather be competitive for the next three years than take a once-last-chance shot at a world championship. The farm system was not sufficiently revamped by the addition of Tyson Gillies and Phillipe Aumont. Aumont is basically a replica of Jason Knapp, the hulking hard-thrower that was lost in the original Lee deal with Cleveland. We also gave up C Lou Marson, SS Jason Donald and former #1 overall prospect P Carlos Carrasco.
Lee could've netted more. Teams like the LA Angels, who just lost ace John Lackey, would've thrown the world at the Phillies, and a have a farm system bursting with available talent. They almost had no choice but to keep pace with the improved Yankees and BoSox. But they were never given the chance. The Phillies instantaneously traded Lee upon aquiring Halladay and Phillies fans were scratching their heads. Understand the reasoning, just not the hasty approach.
Despite the questionable move with Lee, the Phillies were able to add a piece here and there. Placido Polanco is an excellent choice to replace Pedro Feliz. The Phillies lineup needed another contact hitter in the mix. Feliz was unable to come up with hits with RISP time and again during the WS and despite his proficiency with the mitt, a change was neccesary. It will be interesting to see his effect on this power-packed lineup. Not worried whatsoever about his glove. Polanco, a former gold-glover at second, will adjust nicely to the position.
Brad Lidge's success will be a linchpin for the club's success. The signing of Danys Baez offers some insurance, but there isn't really a back-up plan in place. If Brad Ligdge pitches like he did last season, the Phils will have to make an early season move.
This team is headed back to the World Series. In two straight years, the Phils have shown they have what it takes to beat the best the NL has to offer. The Dodgers did not add a front-line starter and the while Rockies have good, young talent, they are not in the stratosphere of the Phillies yet, especially after they added the best starter in the game. Count on a bounc back year from Hamels and another year of maturation from Happ. Another happy summer/October in Philadelphia. 1st in the NL East.