By Amy McGinnis
Rogers Hornsby once said, “People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” I’d like to add that I also count down until the day that pitchers and catchers report in Clearwater (countdown is currently at 57 days for those of you fellow baseball nerds who also consider it an early Valentine’s Day gift).
Luckily, Ruben Amaro, Jr., is doing more than sitting around and waiting. During this offseason, he has uncharacteristically made a few modest (and necessary) moves. It’s been nice to see him address the team’s needs without throwing money around and making noise. Ben Revere, as we know, will play center field. From Texas, we’ve acquired Michael Young, a 36-year-old (still younger than Polanco) righty who hit .277 (20 points higher than Polanco) with 67 RBIs (Polanco had 19) in 156 games (more than twice as many as Polanco played) last season. In addition to these two position players, RAJ made a one-year deal with LHP John Lannan from Washington and righty reliever Mike Adams from Texas. Lannan, 28, went 4-1 last season with a 4.13 ERA; in my opinion, he’ll be a good addition to the back end of our rotation. He’s what’s known as “low risk, high reward,” and I’m glad that the spot left open by Worley won’t have a big question mark. Mike Adams, 34, will be the setup man we’ve needed since Madson left. I’m excited to see Adams in the 8th inning; he posted 7.7K/9 last season. At a $12M/2 years price tag, I think Philadelphia made a quality deal.
As of right now, the Phils seem to be in far better shape than they did a few months ago (Chooch’s suspension notwithstanding). Our starting rotation, of course, includes Halladay, Lee, and Hamels. The back end will have Lannan, a third lefty, and
most likely either Kendrick or Cloyd as the second righty. Behind the plate, we’ll see Kratz to start the season. The infield looks full with Howard, Utley, Rollins, and Young. In the outfield, though, we’re missing the corners. Revere will be in CF, but if there’s a set plan for LF and / or RF, I don’t know what it is. I wouldn’t mind platooning either or both; in any event, competition for an everyday spot will only benefit the team. One thing is clear: I want to see Tyson Gillies playing in Philadelphia. I’m not thrilled that John Mayberry, Jr. is the only right handed hitter, but I’d like to see Laynce Nix and Domonic Brown on the field, too.
One of the many things I love about baseball is the art of piecing together a team that is greater than the sum of its parts. Here’s to no injuries (looking at you, Utley and Howard) and no PED suspensions (ahem, Galvis and Ruiz) in 2013. May the next 57 days pass quickly!