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Phillies Questions Heading into Spring Training

With pitchers and catchers reporting to Clearwater, FL in just a few day, and Opening Day not too far from that, it seems that the offseason has left more questions then answers. What’s going on with Howard? Is the team really better? And what about the new look Marlins and Nationals? We’re here to shed some light on the dark areas, and get people excited for Spring Training.

With the Marlins and Nationals looking better then ever, have the Phillies really improved their team this offseason?

Thome, who had 89 homers in two full season with Phils in the early 2000s, could provide a nice power boost off the bench (AP).

Most people who know about baseball seem to ask this question at one point or another, and the true answer is no they have not. However, they did not get any worse. Last season they won a league leading, and franchise record, 102 games and scored more then most any other team after the All Star Break. In the offseason they were able to sign the much sought after closer, Jonathan Papelbon, and revamped their bench with the additions of Thome, Wigginton, and Nix. Sure the Nationals and Marlins both went on a spending spree, but just adding a few players doesn’t help you win the extra 20 or 30 games you need to catch the Phillies.

How is Howard and when will he be back?

Last season could not have ended worse, losing in the NLCS by a score of 1-0 and losing Howard on the last play, but Howard is currently ahead of schedule in his rehab and with some luck could be back some time in May, missing approximately 30-40 games. However, don’t expect him to come back as an everyday player right away, or as his normal self. Manuel and Amaro are expected to take it slow with him because not only do they have some good replacement while he is gone, but they need him more in the dog days of summer, a period of time where the Big Piece can usually be counted upon.

The Phillies are a very old team and injuries are always a concern. Will they be able to stay health this year?

Utley has missed a lot of time over the past few years because of injuries (GackSports).

Over the past couple of seasons the Phillies have had many problems with injuries, and they have mostly come from the older players. Last season Polanco, Utley, Contreras, and Blanton all missed time for injuries, and once the season was over both Hamels and Pence had surgeries for injuries they received during the season. While Hamels and Pence seem to be fine, other players and their injuries are a great concern to the Phillies. Heading into Spring training both Manual and Amaro have said all players have different workouts design to help them stay healthy, but we all know exercise is not going to cure anything. Polanco, Utley, and Blanton should all be ready for the regular season, and if the Phillies want to succeed they will need them back as their healthy selves.

Hamels and Victorino have been two of the most underrated players in baseball. Why don’t the Phillies sign them to contract extensions? 

The simple answer is, there is plenty of time. The Phillies, with out a doubt, have been talking with both players’ agents about extending both contracts, and while you might want them to get deals done before the season starts, both sides are going to take it slow and weigh all their options. However Hamels’ angent has said that Hamels deserves to get paid like an elite pitcher, witch would put his bill up around $20 million a year, and one can only wonder how many $20 million dollar players one team can have.

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Categories: Editorial, Phillies

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