Having little or no interest in the Super Bowl (it's so hard being an Eagles fan), I turned my attention to the fact that Pitchers and Catchers report this week to Clearwater. I am extremely optimistic that the Phillies have added the right parts, though losing Cliff Lee was a tough one. I guess having 140 Million doesn't mean you can go as far as you want with it, but Roy Halladay is a stud. i am anxious to see how hard Cole Hamels worked in the off-season--if he can come back to 2008 form, we will be in excellent shape. Blanton eats innings and the bullpen looks replenished. I don't see anyone else in the East or in the NL that has improved to the point where the Phillies won't be competitive.
The biggest problem I see is the 5th starter--Jaimie Moyer. WOW!!! Otherwise, we could try Contreras and/or Kendrick again. I realize not many teams have a reliable 5th starter, but I am hoping someone comes out of spring training with the inside track. With Lidge rehabing again from post-season surgery, Danys can close if you assume he's healthy.
The line-up itself is as solid as ever. Feliz was a nice player but his injuries and lack of power from 3rd base did have an effect. Palanco is not a power hitter yet he can hit on contact and gives flexibility with Victorino in the 6 hole or the 2 hole; thus, he's an upgrade. I saw Ryan Howard and he looks buff--spent the whole off-season training and looks like he wants to start fast out of the gate. Chase is Chase and he is one full year removed from the hip surgery so I expect him to hit for power again. Jason Werth is playing on the last year of his contract so he'll be trying to showcase himself. Jimmy Rollins is in his prime and shows no signs of slowing down. Ibanez is 37 and definitely slowed down as the year went on, but the bench is upgraded too.
Pre-season prediction: Strong Powerful LIne-up, Reliable Defense, Some weak spots/question marks in the Pitching.....First in the East, World Series Bound.....Whoo HOO On Phillies Victory Train.