Former Phillies 2B Mickey Morandini has high hopes for this year’s team
The Philadelphia Phillies have submitted their initial 60-man player pool and spring training is just days away, meaning the 2020 season is not that far away.
And, given the 60-game sprint will commence in late July while still ending before October, the postseason is closer than it appears as well. The Phillies have not tasted “Red October” since their 2011 Game 5 NLDS 1-0 defeat to the St. Louis Cardinals; however, their former second baseman, Mickey Morandini, thinks this year’s team has what it takes to be one of the 10 teams to qualify under new manager Joe Girardi.
“I think [the team] shapes up pretty good,” Morandini recently told 6ABC’s Jeff Skversky. “The front-end of the rotation is solid. I think it’s going to boil down to the back-end of that rotation and bullpen. If we can get something out of those groups there, then I think we have a chance to make the playoffs.”
“I think if we can get to the playoffs, we have a chance to do a little bit of damage. I really do.”
In a recent interview, Larry Bowa, Phillies senior advisor to the general manager, likewise thinks the strength of the bullpen will be the key to the success for the coming season, given there will be plenty of “bullpen games” with starting pitchers not fully extended out.
“The team that has the best bullpen and can stay away from injuries or the virus, if you can keep guys off that, then they have a good chance of winning,” Bowa says. “I look at bullpen strength and I think whoever has the best bullpens right now would have a good chance getting in the playoffs.”
The 1995 National League All-Star in Morandi went on to tell Skversky that he likes the DH, and that Girardi has plenty of options to choose from to use in the position.
“We can put [Andrew] McCutchen in there, we can put Bryce Harper in there when he needs a day off,” he said. “[There are] a lot of guys that we can use in that DH role.”
Girardi recently expressed the same sentiment as the Morandini in that the Phillies have plenty of options for the designated hitter role this coming season. In recent conversation with MLB Network, he stressed the importance of keeping players healthy.
“There is a fine line as managers that we walk to making sure that players aren’t overused,” Girardi said. “Because think about it: if you hurt someone or they go on the DL for two or three weeks, that could cost you your season.”
Morandini played 11 seasons in the majors from 1990 to 2000 — parts of nine of which in red pinstripes, including the 1993 National League championship season. He currently serves as a Phillies Club Ambassador, along with Dick Allen and Gary Matthews Sr. Prior, during the 2016 and 2017 seasons, he was the Phillies’ first base coach.
Hopefully, we find Morandini’s bold prediction to become true when the season ends in less than three months.