It’s been about three weeks since the Roy Halladay deal went down, and finally it seems that the seas have settled in regards to the Phillies off-season moves.
As of the start of the new year, the Phillies lineup and pitching rotation (except the fifth and final spot) are all but solidified. While it’s pretty standard for a team to return the majority of their nucleus when they were two wins short of back-to-back World Series titles, the Phillies did that, added some depth with Brian Schneider and DeWayne Wise , and made two small upgrades (Halladay over Cliff Lee and Placido Polanco over Pedro Feliz) in terms of talent in my opinion to their player personnel.
Can’t complain about that.
The only part of the team in a bit of a state of flux right now is the bullpen. Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson will be back, keeping the enigmatic set-up man/closer combination that produced the most blown saves (17) in the National League last year. As for the middle relievers, they may look a little different come opening day. Brett Myers was casted away by GM Ruben Amaro as he cleaned out his locker after the World Series, and it looks like Chan Ho Park will be joining him out the door as well.
Last week, the Phillies agreed to terms with former Baltimore Orioles reliever Danys Baez on a 2-year deal, as his signing will give the Phillies a replacement for Park as a right-handed long reliever. In regards to replacing Myers, the Phillies will probably look internally within the organization, as a lot depends on what they decide to do with filling the fifth starter role. If Jamie Moyer is good to go health wise, they will probably enter Spring Trainer with him occupying that role on the depth chart, with Kyle Kendrick the candidate to take the place of Myers alongside Chad Durbin as middle inning men.
In terms of left-handed relievers, Antonio Bastardo will be in line to take over J.C Romero’s job for the first month of the season, as Romero will still be recovering from off-season surgery. However, the real x-factor in this category is Scott Eyre.
Eyre is still unsure about deciding to return to the Phillies next season, as he’s reportedly leaning towards retirement. If Eyre stays, all is well, and the Phillies will most likely go into the regular season with two left-handed relievers on the opening day roster. If he chooses to hang up the cleats, look out for a free-agent signing or two in the future.
Lastly, if you think the Phillies are going to try to make a move to counter the Mets signing of Jason Bay, you are mistaken. Bay is just another example of a powerful right-handed hitters that are known for existing in the NL East (David Wright, Ryan Zimmerman, Hanley Ramirez are just examples), and the Phillies, with the addition Halladay and Baez, have already the necessary moves.