3,000 miles from Doc: Phillies Year in Review, Part One


A tearful Phanatic has placed a pillow over the face of the 2013 Phillies, eyes clenched as they began to twitch frantically under his weight, and then lied still. The end is here. And so, we at TBOH have come up with some general questions about what could go right next season and what was so stupid about the recently completed one.

Leading off is Ethan Seidel (@yearinbaseball):

What does Ryne Sandberg need to do to be the Manager of the Year? How will Kyle Kendrick ruin it for him?

Kyle Kendrick has the ability to ruin a great many things. No one shed a tear when he was shut down for the rest of the season, nor will anyone be upset if they move forward without him.

Unfortunately for Sandberg they don’t have the luxery not to roll the dice with Kendrick. Despite KK’s maddening mediocrity, Sandberg has seemed to be a positive spark for this Phillies club. If he can keep Kendrick a force for good, resuscitate Ryan Howard’s bat, and keep Jimmy Rollins engaged for a full season he might, just might pull out manager of the year in 2014. Easier said than done.

Without Charlie Manuel, the Phillies see a dramatic drop in Folksiness%. What are the best ways a full year in Ryne Sandberg’s clubhouse will be different?

It may not be fun for the players, but there is no denying Ryne runs a tight ship.

Be on time, practice hard, play hard.

So long as the 2014 Phillies abide by the manager’s credo, this could be a very happy clubhouse and fun team to watch. Sandberg’s strict rules are balanced by his calm, quiet exterior. He’s no Larry Bowa clone, which should keep his relationships with the players from burning out too fast.

Sandberg has talked of how important Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins’ roles will be next season. Why is he putting so much emphasis on the older, more injury-prone crowd? And did he not see Chase Utley? He’s standing right there, thinking about hitting mechanics. Wave to Chase, everybody! Oh, he looks mad. I guess he always does. Still, though; stop waving.

Sandberg is no dummy. No offense (maybe a little) to Howard and Rollins, but Utley doesn’t need to be challenged thought the media. He’s worked his butt off to regain his former glory, while Rollins and Howard have seen their numbers drop dramatically.

For better or worse the 2014 Phillies are stuck with Rollins and Howard – and Ryno knows it.

Darin Ruf’s role on the 2014 Phillies will be as a _______ly effective _______.

He’ll be a mildly effective power hitter. Ruf’s got the pop, but still no obvious position, particularly when factoring in players returning from injuries (Brown, Revere, Howard).

They can’t send him back to the minors, but I don’t think a winning team has Darin Ruf getting 600 at bats either. He’ll spell Howard at first, and get time in the outfield, but his inconstancy will limit him to hitting against lefties.

How many miles away from Philadelphia will Roy Halladay spend next season?

I love Doc, but it’s hard to picture him in a Phillies uniform next season. The risk/reward is just too high for a guy who hasn’t looked like himself in two seasons.

I fully expect him to find work, lets say for the Angels. That’s 3,000 miles away right?

Sep 6, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Cody Asche (25) celebrates with first baseman Darin Ruf (18) after defeating the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Braves 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

How many miles away from civilization will Roy Halladay spend the next season?

After things don’t work out in LA, Doc will pull a Ron Swanson and head out into the wilderness and work on his Anaconda hunting.

Assuming Hamels and Lee are retained, fill out the last three spots in the rotation. EXTRA CHALLENGE: Do it again, using solely arms from the farm system. Ha ha, no, don’t. Actually yeah, do it.

Geez, who feels good about the pitching prospects in the Phillies system these days?

I’ll give one to their new Cuban arm Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. Since know one has seen him pitch I’ll just assume he’ll be an all-star phenom. Next up is Jonathan Pettibone. He pitched well before his arm got tired. A winter’s worth of rehab should get him back into form. And lastly is…f%$k it! Kyle Kendrick. I don’t know how, but Kendrick keeps finding a way onto this roster every year, so why should 2014 be any different.

Kyle Kendrick showed a glimmer of dominance early in 2013, and is almost 30 years old now. Assuming someone else is now the ‘little brother’ of the team, who is it? Or do the Phillies not have the chemistry to establish jokey little roles like that anymore, choosing to brusquely pass each other in the hall and avoid speaking to each other?

My nominee for new “little brother” is Cody Ashce. You can’t beat up on someone who’s no good, and Asche has proven himself worthy of first crack at 3B in 14′. He’ll have the fateful “Rookie” tag on him all year, but don’t worry Cody, all the hazing and jokes about you being traded to Venezuela mean they like you.

How many Phillies problems were solved by the demolishing of the Vet Stadium tower?

Now that the iron succubus has been demolished all weaknesses and faults have been stripped from the Phillies.

If only it were that easy.

At least everyone’s panorama pics on their new iphones won’t need any Photoshop afterwards.

Chase Utley: Offensive leader and ideal example for young players to follow, or unkillable baseball cyborg who will stand amongst the smoldering ashes of Citizens Bank Park as the lone survivor of the End of Days?

I refuse to be a apart of the senseless defamation of Cyborgs in this country.

Rank these young people in the order of their significance to the 2014 campaign: Cody Asche, Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis, Ethan Martin, Jonathan Pettibone, Justin De Fratus, Jake Diekman.

  1. Cody Ashe
  2. Jonathan Pettibone
  3. Jake Diekman
  4. Freddy Galvis
  5. Justin De Fratus
  6. Cesar Hernandez
  7. The Phanatic
  8. Ethan Martin

Will the Phillies do the responsible thing and start hunting for starting pitching to sign or will they do the ‘Phillies’ thing and immediately sign a 40+ outfielder who has to sew his arm back on between innings to be an everyday corner outfielder?

Did someone say Carlos Beltran?

The burn and utter failure of signing Delmon Young should prevent RAJ and co. to not go down that road again. That’s not to say they can’t make an expensive mistake on some starting pitching (I’m looking in your direction Bronson Arroyo).