MLB Rumors 2010: Five Goals for the Philadelphia Phillies Offseason
As Ryan Howard watched a 3-2 pitch from closer Brian Wilson catch the plate, the 2010 Philadelphia Phillies season was over. An unsatisfying taste was left in the mouths of the team, manager, front office and the fans. This team, which had traded for Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt in the past year, had expectations of World Series or bust.
Consider 2010 a bust.
While there were feel good moments such as Halladay's perfect game and playoff no-hitter and the team's rally in the second half to win the NL East, ultimately they did not reach their goal of playing in a third straight World Series as the National League Champions.
Last off season, they saw themselves upgrade at third grade and acquire Roy Halladay. What will the Phillies do before Opening Day 2011?
Here are five goals for the Philadelphia Phillies offseason.
5. Get Healthy
Despite all the inconsistencies, the Phillies were struck with the injury bug like none other in 2010. No one would expect that the Phillies would trot out their Opening Day lineup less than 20 times all season.
Jimmy Rollins suffered from hamstring and calf issues. Chase Utley had a broken hand costing him a quarter of the season. The list goes on and on about injury issues for the Phillies. Now, with the season over, the Phillies have a chance to rest up and get healthy and strong again for 2011.
Hopefully, the Phillies can avoid these issues or it will be a difficult grind back to the playoffs once again.
4. Don't Give into Jayson Werth's Demands
Jayson Werth has finally reached the moment he's been waiting for his entire career: His free agent year. Werth held nothing back when asked about testing market. He said he would consider Philadelphia and loves it here, but Ruben Amaro should not break the bank to re-sign the outfielder.
Werth is has all the tools and has evolved into an all-star since his arrival to Philadelphia. He had a solid season but nothing irreplaceable. Ben Franscisco could be platooned with Domonic Brown to form a platoon in right or they could go after a younger utility player to fill that role as well.
The team will undoubtedly make an offer to Werth, but with Scott Boras representing him, they should not give into any outrageous claims and let the outfielder walk if so be it.
3. Figure Out the Bullpen
There are only three Phillies under contract next year in the bullpen: Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson and Dany Baez. Everyone else is a free agent and it will be interesting to see what direction the Phillies decide to go with their bullpen.
Jose Contreras had a good year for the Phillies and would be worth looking at to re-sign. JC Romero was too inconsistent as was the younger Antonio Bastardo. They could go younger and look to the minors to fill some of the gaps as well.
The Phillies have some contracts expiring this season and with Werth presumable walking away will have some money to spend. It will be interesting if they fill the slots with some reliable bullpen help or stay in house.
2. Who Will Be the Fifth Starter?
Jamie Moyer's injury put the Phillies into a bind with the fifth starter's spot. Kyle Kendrick held that spot in the rotation for the rest of the season but once spring training rolls around the starting spot should be up for grabs.
Kendrick and minor league prospect Vance Worley should be the in house candidates to fill the fifth spot. But the Phillies could look to the free agent class as Moyer's contract comes off the books. The Phillies could go into a number of directions with this spot but its something that needs to be tied up behind H20 and Blanton next season.
1. Youth Movement
It doesn't have to be an obvious overhaul, but the Philadelphia Phillies need to start getting younger at some positions or develop prospects who will be ready in the next few seasons to take over.
The injury problem showed why the Phillies need to start getting younger. This team's average age was just over 30 and they were among the oldest in baseball. Jimmy Rollins started to slow down and Raul Ibanez was hot and cold all season. With the core four (Rollins, Utley, Howard Victorino) of Philadelphia set under contract at least 2012, there is time for the Phillies to start developing some youth.
If the Phillies don't start developing some of the youth under them, the lineup of the Phillies will continue to get older and eventually will reach their peak and begin their eventual decline. While it happens to any franchise, if the Phillies have young talent like Domonic Brown ready to take over, then the transition would be easier and have less impact to the overall success of a team.