Extreme Offseason Questions, Part 1


Ruben’s walking a road through the offseason paved with important upgrades and muttering question marks.  Polanco’s better than Feliz, but could we have kept Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay?  We’re seeing a more promising bench, but is the bullpen still a shadow of its former self?

With that in mind, the fellows at The Hot Stove got to sit down with Ruben recently and made some riveting, intrusive inquiries meant to shatter the norms of sports journalism.

“…are you hoping [Cole Hamels] will be able to bounce back?”

“No!” replied Amaro, firing his microphone at the camera.  “I hope that son of a bitch gets trapped in a car fire!”

What do you think he’s going to say?  “Are you hoping that one of your pitchers is very, very good?”  Yes.  Yes we are.  Because we are a baseball team, and the better our baseball players are, the better we will be.

“Brad Lidge was fantastic, winning that World Championship for you guys a few years ago; last year was a mixed bag for him…”

A “mixed bag?”  A bag of what?  Roadkill and broken toasters?

Todd Zolecki also took it upon himself to answer 10 of the Phillies big questions regarding the upcoming season.  At the start of the new year, burrowed into the icy cold depths of the offseason, this seems as good a time as any to address some of the questions that have risen amongst the Phaithful.

I read his questions, and… meh.  I came up with my own.  I will also be providing the answers.

1.  How long into the season will people be complaining about losing Cliff Lee?

Ugh, it depends, but I will say maybe two weeks into April.  The complaint department at Citizens Bank Park is directly correlated to how many human mistakes each player is allowed, which is none.  I can’t even count how many times Pat Burrell was booed for a ground out and then given a standing O two innings later for a single.

What I mean is, let’s say hypothetically, Roy Halladay is a bust somehow; for argument’s sake, let’s say the Phanatic trips on a bat and collapses on him, shattering his ribs.  Then, yeah, the complaints will run like a river of poorly worded debate.  But it’s not really likely that Roy Halladay isn’t going to be phenomenal.  You all saw what he was capable of against the AL East, debatably the best division in baseball, and now he’s in the NL, pitching against the Mets?  Yikes, dude.

So, I’m saying the opening of the baseball season will stir a new wave of emotions regarding our dearly departed (actually departed, not dead) buddy Cliff, but when folks see the shiny new Roy on the mound, all will be forgiven.

And no, there is no complaint department at CBP.  Don’t drink too many Yards and go looking for it.

2.  Does anyone really think Jamie Moyer can/will be our fifth starter?

Look, I don’t see anyone else talking about this, but seriously, he’s undergone two surgeries and has another scheduled before Spring Training is even on the radar.  He’s 47, gave up a serious number of runs before being shepherded into the bullpen, and played a great coaching role during the postseason for the young pitchers.  I don’t want a pitcher in the rotation who is a guaranteed 4-5 inning start, allowing a handful of runs with each appearance.  It’s givens like that that don’t win trophies.

The question is, if not Jamie, than who, and the answer is most likely Kyle Kendrick.  Or I guess Pedro if they really wanted to try him for an entire season; but Ruben said on December 8 that bringing Pedro back was merely on the “back burner.”  As it should be.

3.  How many elbow surgeries can one bullpen hold?

“As many as it takes!” Brad Lidge, J.C. Romero, and Danys Baez said in unison, before performing a three-way high five and then rubbing their elbows and muttering painfully.

The thing about the bullpen is that there’s not a ton of guys in it right now, so I sort of want the tank to be full before I start whining about how it isn’t premium.  And maybe it will be, Lidge and Romero are capable of some terrific things, and Baez will bring some veteran clubhouse presence (I know, I know, what does that really mean), but it’s in their lap to recover and stay strong for 2010.  A strong back of the bullpen takes some weight off the starters; get us to 7th, we’ll take care of the rest.

It’d be good to hear.  And also, to actually believe.

4.  What weighs more… two Gold Gloves or an everyday position change?

If you’re good enough for more than one Gold Glove, you’re probably a pretty adaptable player.  Second and third are different positions, but these aren’t brand new concepts we’re pushing on Placdio Polanco; he’s played third before.  For the Phillies.  This isn’t going to be a problem.

5.  Will the Phillie Phanatic become more balanced with his hot dog gun?

I don’t know who came up with this bullshit, but left field has been under the thumb of hot dog-gun abandonment for some time now.  If you think I’m above exchanging my tickets for a section that gets more than a single shot from the Phanatic, you clearly don’t read this blog a lot.

6.  What will the lineup look like?

Charlie likes to tinker, so he’ll use Spring Training to try out some different combinations.  I’m saying we’ll see Polanco, a guy that clicks in pretty much anywhere in the lineup, batting second on Opening Day, periodically swapping spots lower in the lineup with Shane Victorino.  Jimmy Rollins stays leadoff, because, come on.  Look at that smile.  You try telling him he’s not hitting first.

We’ll finish up this thrilling line of questioning tomorrow.