Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Start of the 2008 Phillies Season....

With Spring Training pretty much underway for the 2008 edition of the Fightin' Phils, it's time to list the areas on this team worthy of questioning and concern.

One area I will not list, however, is the Ryan Howard contract situation. The Howard contract is much adieu and hand-wringing about nothing. Howard is going to get paid either way, whether he gets his long term contract or if he goes to arbitration. I would prefer he sign a long term deal with terms amenable to both player and team, but it is not unique for high profile players to go through the arbitration process and not sour the relationship between player and team.

Specifically, I'm thinking of players such as Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, etc. who have all gone through the arbitration process, yet didn't pout.

Furthermore, whether Howard likes it or not, he is Phillies property for the next 4 years. I believe this will all work out for the Phils, and yes, for Howard too.

For areas of genuine concern, I submit the following:

1.) Can Myers transition back into the starting rotation? I believe he can; he prepared all last off-season as if he were a starter. It's a shame he lost a year of his career to being in the bullpen last year. They need him as a starter, period.

2.) Can Shane Victorino be a full-time centerfielder? In case you missed it, the Flyin' Hawaiian got hurt last year and frankly, was platooned down the stretch in right field. I am more concerned about Victorino being the full-time centerfielder than any other of the eight starting positions. That includes the always shaky catching situation. I like Victorino, but I like him more as a platoon player than as a full-time starting player. I suppose this is a natural progression in Victorino's career. He's proven folks wrong before.

3.) Who will be the Phils' 5th Starter? Adam Eaton? Kris Benson? Who knows? Eaton this year, can't be worse than Eaton last year? Can he? My guess? Eaton wins this job by virtue of the fact that the Phils are paying him so much.

4.) Can JRoll duplicate his MVP year? Jimmy Rollins acheived a career best in just about every meaningful statistical category. Can he do it again? Is it asking too much? I think JRoll will be coming back to Earth a little bit, but not by much.

5.) Can Kyle Kendrick duplicate his work last year? Kendrick came out of nowhere last year to go 10-4 with a respectible 3.87 ERA. Will the rest of the NL catch up to Kendrick?

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