Commentary: Phillies Have The Makeup Of A Big-Time Program – Phillies Nation

Commentary: Phillies Have The Makeup Of A Big-Time Program

Turnover is a major part of the game in college sports. For the established, big-time schools (in basketball, let’s say, there’s Duke, UNC, UConn, UCLA) it’s simple to keep in contention, as they recycle big-name, blue-chip players every year. For some other major-conference schools, however, it’s a little more of a challenge. These schools – such as Villanova, Wake Forest, Maryland and USC – might suffer a year or two of downturn because they’re waiting for the right class to revitalize the program.

One of the terms most used in college sports is “departing senior.” Teams that have a lot of departing seniors might be very good, but won’t be so good the next season. The Phillies? They had a few departing seniors – Pat Burrell, Tom Gordon, Rudy Seanez; they patched one hole with Raul Ibanez, another “senior” who will be on board for a few years. So those losses won’t affect the Phillies much; in fact, they might even help.

Like a good college team, the Phillies have a wealth of experienced players entering their “junior” years. Jimmy Rollins, the floor general, has the talent and leadership; now he has the experience that puts him ahead of the pack. Look around the league – would you rather have the untested Hanley Ramirez, the short Jose Reyes, the elder Derek Jeter or the perfectly primed and experienced Rollins? To lead my team, I’m taking Young James.

Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are also readying for their junior years, and though Utley won’t be starting his on time, he’ll jump right in and invigorate the team upon arrival. There’s Brad Lidge, Carlos Ruiz, Brett Myers, Joe Blanton, Ryan Madson, JC Romero, Chad Durbin – all these players are secured, entrenched in their primes and carry big-game experience.

Two key younger players finishing up their sophomore seasons are Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino. They’ve just found their niches, and are starting to understand what it takes to contribute to a winning program.

There are other seniors – such as the wily Jamie Moyer and well-established Geoff Jenkins – who won’t be asked to do too much, just stay on the ball and provide the teaching to the younger guys. And some red-shirt players will make some rumbles during the season; hopefully Carlos Carrasco, JA Happ, Kyle Kendrick and Lou Marson can help the cause.

But then there’s the hotshot freshman who’s now ready to take the mantle and lead the team. Cole Hamels had the skills, and now he has the ring, accolades and big talk. He’s the guy everyone will be looking to, the guy who’ll be making the big plays. It’s key to keep him hidden just enough – to not overexpose him; he’ll be big down the stretch.

Yes, this team is primed for another run in 2009. They have the makeup of a champion once again. Clearly the window is open for another season, and remains open until probably 2012, just at first glance. They’ve built the makings of a big-time program; hopefully these next few years will solidify that cause.



  1. Manny

    January 22, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    So happy that we’re keeping this team together for a few more years! However, I’m a little concerned by a post I saw on RotoAuthority that listed pitchers who threw 3,400+ pitches in 08. Guess who’s No.1? Hamels. And No. 3? Myers. (Also, Blanton is No.11). I know that there is no way to predict who’ll get injured, and that each pitcher is different in many ways… but there is this sentence at the end of the article that makes me fearful: “Tomorrow we’ll look at those who threw 3400+ pitches in 2007 – a group that responded horribly in 2008.”

  2. JohnKruksLoveChild

    January 22, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    One thing I said to many non-baseball fans after the Phils won was “It’s great, but don’t expect it for next season”. That’s why Dynasties are so rare and special, making it to the Series several years in a row takes a lot. Given how volatile the playoffs are, even the best teams can fall down on their faces (Cubs). Another reason I say that is because we’re Phils fans and we’ve learned not to get our hopes up. 2008 was great, but don’t forget that before that four game Brewers series in Sept, our spot in the playoffs was questionable.

    It does seems pretty clear though that the chips are in place for several years of, at a minimum, playoff appearances. After a lifetime of accepting defeat, what will we do with this strange feeling, commonly known as “winning” ?

  3. Cole 0.00 ERA

    January 22, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    I am not expecting a World Series win next season by any means, but whats nice about this is the team already has a championship that us fans can bask in, but is also going to be competitive for the next few years at least. Maybe they won’t win the Series next year, hell they might not make the playoffs, but you know they will be in the playoff discussion come September when the “experts” are talking about contending teams. As a fan of this team and city’s other sports teams that has seen more than his fair share of defeat, thats the best I can ask for….

  4. Tim Malcolm

    January 22, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    What we all should note is the Phillies have been ahead of .500 every season since 2003. That’s almost unprecedented these days. And most years they’ve been at least an 86-win team.

  5. Jason B.

    January 22, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    You’re right, it would be greedy to EXPECT a championship in 09, but the great thing is, it’s not out of the question, or even far fetched. Some may rip Amaro for his lack of pick ups in the market, but I will say this: He had some key arbitration eligible players. He could have taken everyone of them to arbitration, which as we know from Howards last year, can be very taxing for a young player. Instead, he signed all eligible before it got to that war. 8 out of 9 signings that never made it to arbitration is impressive in my eyes. At the very least, we can say he’s done well with that thus far.
    Another great thing is unlike after the 93 season when everyone kind of expected the Phils to finish in the basement again, this team seems a lot like those teams of the late 70’s…. poised to make a sustained era of runs at the title, and as a die hard Philadelpia sports fan who has long suffered, it is refreshing and appreciated to know that.

  6. KeelerPi

    January 22, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    I appreciate what you are going for and agree to an extent but give me Hanley Ramirez over Jimmy 7 days a week and twice on Sunday. Nothing against Jimmy, but Hanley is better

  7. Don M

    January 22, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    I think Hanley Ramirez is nasty with a bat in his hand, but not that good definively.

    BUT, I keep looking at this “Win Shares (ws)” stuff and seeing if I think it means anything or not: SS rankings from 2006-2008.

    2006: Rollins tie-4th (26 ws), Reyes 2nd (29 ws), HanRam 7th (25 ws).

    2007: Rollins 2nd (28 ws), Reyes tied-5th (24 ws), HanRam 1st (29 ws).

    2008: Rollins 3rd (24 ws), Reyes 2nd (29 ws), HanRam 1st (32 ws).

    Jimmy Rollins = 26
    Jose Reyes = 27.333
    Hanley Ramirez = 28.666

    Can you go wrong with any of these guys???

  8. Jason B.

    January 22, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Does Hanley Ramirez have back to back gold gloves, an MVP, and, oh yeah, a world championship? As matter of fact, he has never so much as sniffed the post season, but hey he helped us lose home field advantage in the world series by appearing on the NL all star team. Thanks Hanley, that allowed us to clinch a CHAMPIONSHIP on our home field. Other than that, he just belongs to the over achieving farm team we like to call the Florida Marlins.

  9. Phil

    January 22, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    not to mention don m that jimmy has the best glove of the 3.

  10. Kevv

    January 22, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    Reyes is on the mets, so of course. haha But seriously, he always seems to make bonehead plays when things don’t always go as planned. Maybe it’s me, maybe its because he plays for the mets, but J-Roll is a big time clutch player. The double play to win the East this year, lead off homers in clinching games against the Brewers and Dodgers, and he is the best defensive SS in the league, and has an absolute cannon.

  11. Don M

    January 22, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Gold Gloves and MVPs are something that are voted on by guys who can’t possibly see these guys play as much as they need to, to be accurate judges of who is the best..

    Matt Holliday could have clearly been the MVP in 2007, and Troy Tulowitzki had better numbers than J-Roll at SS in 2007…. But Rollins plays on the East Coast.. was in the papers all year long for saying they were the team to beat, and then he backed it up, and got the hardware for it.

    I don’t know the exact science of this Win-Shares stuff, but it takes fielding into account at least somewhat… I wouldn’t trade Rollins for these guys because I know what he means to this “team” ….

  12. David W

    January 22, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    kevv, im a met fan who watches the mets ALOT, and for you to say that he ALWAYS seems to make bonehead plays…i have to disagree with you…i know you guys are HIGH on your team winning the championships and you guys dont like to think that any starting nine are better then your starting nine …..but the truth of the matter is Reyes is a stud at shortstop, and he’s better then rollins. but like Don M said, you really cant go wrong with any 3….i’ll actually take Hanley over any shortstop in baseball…he’s not a below averge shortstop, he’s an average shortstop and offensively i just see two people better…Arod, and Fat Albert….

  13. Don M

    January 22, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    How about that Albert Pujols is only 29 years old….. I just read that the other day, that he’s a little bit younger than Ryan Howard.

    That is crazy..

    Reyes and Victorino are not that different.. so much so that his own teammates got on him with the ” J.Reyes? ” and the picture of him pointing his finger to the sky after a homerun.. posted it above his locker to send a message

  14. David W

    January 22, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    they both have the same type of intensity that rub people off the wrong way….but the bottm line is that any team would love to have them both….people are always going to mistake passion for arrogance…

  15. David W

    January 22, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    but in no way is Reyes arrogant, he’s a kid that just loves to play, and the scary thing is that he’s still getting better….

  16. Chuck P

    January 22, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Hanley is better than both of them… the best all around player in baseball playing a premier defensive position.

    I’ll take Rollins over Reyes… I think that Rollins is a bit more consistent. I will admit that when Reyes is in the groove, he’s better but I’ve seen him go cold at times (usually the wrong time for the Mets faithful). Reyes is a better baserunner but Jimmy is a better fielder. They are both confident players but Jimmy loves the spotlight and that’s what sets him apart. Reyes has yet to reach his potential and that is scary but I don’t know if he has the other stuff inside of him that will get him there.

  17. Doug

    January 22, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    I don’t think it’s beyond expectation to see the Phils win it all again in ’09. Jimmy had a sub-par year because of his early-season sprained ankle (an injury which, from personal experience, can linger well beyond its supposed “healing”). Chase was playing on a bum hip for most of the year. Rhyno and Pat both suffered from Burrellitis (a disease whose main symptoms are (1) looking at called 3rd strikes and (2) trying to pull every pitch, especially low and away breaking stuff). Brett went walkabout for the first half of the season. Kendrick might have never recovered from the shock of being traded to Japan. And, of course, we had Eaton starting 19 games before being put out to pasture.

    This year, Pat is gone and replaced by Raul ibanez, a lefty power hitter who likes to hit to all fields. Rhyno should follow his example and start the season by going the opposite way, just as he’s been preached to by Milt Thompson. The result should be a lot less runners left in scoring position and less pressure being placed on the bullpen. Chase, when he returns, should be 100% again, as will Jimmy after an off-season to fully rehab that ankle. Brett seems to have found his mojo again. Eaton will collecting $8.5 million in unemployment benefits from the Phils, while Blanton will be taking his turn toeing the rubber from Day 1. As far as the #5 spot in the rotation, the battle should yield a more effective pitcher this in ’09, whether it be the new-and-improved Kendrick, a wiser Happ, or a revitalized Chan Ho Park (Carrasco’s service-time clock hasn’t started yet, and the Phils will probably prefer to keep him down in the Minors until absolutely necessary at some point in the near future). Furthermore, I predict Jayson and Shane will put up bigger numbers than their breakout year of ’08.

    Call me crazy (or maybe just an eternal optimist), but I see this team putting up way more than 92 regular-season wins and running away with the division.

  18. Jason B.

    January 22, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Don, I agree that it is a close race for the top 3 short stops in th league, But most importantly Rollins is a team leader(minus a few snafu’s during the season). Reyes and Ramirez are not leaders. Talent wise, Ramirez is probably better overall offensively than Rollins, and Reyes is a tad inferior than Rollins. However, defensivly, Rollins is the best in the NL at defending his position, and because of his leadership qualities and expirience, I would take Jroll over the other two in a heartbeat.

    David W.,
    It’s nice to see a Mets fan on here that is not a complete bone head and actually brings intelligent conersation to the table. I don’t like Reyes simply because he is a Met and we already have a Tier 1 shortstop. Although, if we didn’t have Jimmy, I would take REyes in a second. And believe me, it behooves me to say that.

  19. Jason B.

    January 22, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Doug, 92 wins sure would be nice!

  20. Don M

    January 22, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    It’s not Reyes’ passion that gets me angry…. its the dancing on the dugout steps and over-celebrating… if it would deserve a 15-yard Unsportsmanlike-Conduct penalty in Football… it deserves a fastball in the ribs in baseball..

    Shame people don’t do that anymore, because that is how they used to stop people from showboating..

    I’ve said multiple times before that I hate when Howard stands at homeplate to admire a long homerun too, so its not just an attack on Reyes.. but stop the dancing and 15 different secret-handshakes with 15 different players on the team.. act like a winner, and maybe you’ll win

  21. Chuck P

    January 22, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Burrellitis… good one. One thing is for sure; the ladies are going to miss his ass in LF.

  22. Woodman

    January 22, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Don M: You hit it on the head; it’s the showboating of Reyes that leaves a lot to be desired. I’m an old school guy. As one of my coaches told me years ago, carry yourself like you’ve done it before and plan on doing it again. Reyes is way over the top with those “clown shakes” in the dugout. Maybe he will grow up one day. Of course the MUTS have to win something before he can really celebrate!

  23. David W

    January 22, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    i understand your view Don M, but think of how BOOOOORRRRRINNNNG baseball would be without players like reyes…and i tell you this, he’s not out there trying to offend anyone, this is how he is…watch the 02 Futures Game when, he was the same way. i never attack anybody’s character, dude if Manny wants to watch the ball for 15 mins, then be it….the oppisition can either do two things 1. Let it effect their mentality to the point where they will break or 2. Use it as enegy to get back into the game…i played baseball till i was in college, and we had a bunch of guys like reyes who just brought fun into the game…lets remember baseballs a game where we should have fun playing and watching, its not an academy….i think people lose focus on that especially with the millions they make….its still the same game you were playing in your backyard…maybe the dancing outside of the dugout, maybe he can just change it up and do it inside the dugout. but you cant tell somebody to stop doing something they been doing for the whole life…
    with that said….I CANT WAIT FOR SPRING TRAINING…

  24. Don M

    January 22, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    I enjoy watching bang-bang plays, great catches, great throws, doubles, triples, steals, strikeouts, and all that stuff..

    If I wanted to watch people dance, I’d check out Shakira on YouTube… or if I was a Mets fan, I’d watch like Ricky Martin or something

    But seriously, the problem is that umpires don’t let pitchers even throw inside without issuing warnings.. let alone hitting someone in the ribs even when they deserve it… if reyes knew the umpires weren’t protecting him, I bet he’d dance less

  25. David W

    January 22, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    you nailed it on the button…you said IF I WANTED TO….dude, you dont really need to watch him dance..and he doesnt dance, he gives handshakes to his OWN teamates, he’s not yelling at the other teams…saying….”hey guys look, watch me” reyes could care less if the hit him, im sure he would take first base proudly.. three pitches later that “hit by a pitch” turns into a triple….so if pitchers want to hit him, then go right ahead head….

  26. DD

    January 22, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    I will take Jimmy anytime, especially after watching how he handled himself after his “benching”. He could have handled that in a number of different ways and he “chose” to handle it correctly and professionally. That told me what kind of person he is and he never let it become a distraction or a division for “the team.” Not sure how Hanley or Reyes would have handled it, but it couldn’t be any better than the way Jimmy did. A true example for young athletes to learn from.

  27. David W

    January 22, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    dude, cmon….Ricky Martin??? lol

  28. David W

    January 22, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    but here’s the FUNNY part about all this….last year, JRoll called all you guys FRONTRUNNERS, and i remember comming to this blog the day after just to see you guys badmouthing Jroll…you guys bad mouthed him until the playoffs….now he’s a professional, a leader, or how DD jus said…A true example of young athlets to learn from…lmao…you guys are hysterical.

  29. Don M

    January 22, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Not all of us badmouthed him… some of us defended him to the point where people were calling us “Mets fans”

    Reyes..he’s not yelling at the other team, but they all see it… he does it BEFORE he gets to the dugout steps, and the whole routine lasts like 3 minutes..

    Reyes also got thrown out 15 times, so his +/- for Stolen Bases is 56-15 = 41 SB
    Rollins 47-3 = 44 SB

    To some players, they steal bags just to add to their stats..Reyes falls into that category like Willy Tavares

  30. Fran

    January 22, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Jamie Moyer is a “super senior” haha

  31. David W

    January 22, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Don M, you post some really good stuff, but to say reyes steals just to pile up on his stats is really really dumb….why dont you just say people just like scoring runs to add to their stats?? or people like hitting home runs to add to their stats…Reyes steals cuz hes friggin fast, and he uses that to his benefit…not for stats…cmon brother, your smarter then that.

  32. JohnKruksLoveChild

    January 22, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Not to defend the Mets or anything, but it seems kind of hypocritical to criticize Reyes for antics when Vic does the exact same stuff. Jimmy too with the sky pointing, ya ya he’s thanking God, but it’s a celebration move all the same. My personal take is that none of that stuff should be done on the field, unless you hit a game winning home run off Eckersley in the playoffs.

    Also, Wheels LOVES Reyes. I’d say during every Mets/Phils game, Wheels spends a good 10 minutes going on and on about how Reyes is a MUCH better player then Jimmy.

    Harry is like butter, Wheels is like broken glass.

  33. Don M

    January 22, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Well then he’s fast but not smart… if you are fast enough to steal 56 bags… how do you get 15 times… by taking chances when you don’t need to

    Honestly, think of it in terms of other sports… pointing the sky and clapping are way different than dancing on the dugout steps and holding your hand up in the air rounding the bases. Players that bring energy are fine.. Victorino got called out on here and by his own teammates when he rounded the bags with his hand in the air, and I will bash ANYONE not named Ken Griffey Jr. that poses and watches a HomeRun leave the yard

  34. David W

    January 22, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    well folks, it was fun blogging away with you guys, but as much as i love baseball, i dont have the same passion for work….take care fellas..



  35. Don M

    January 22, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Dave, let me know how the “She Bangs” video is..

  36. Tim Malcolm

    January 22, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    I knew the shortstop portion would be up for discussion.

    Rollins is perfect for this team. I wouldn’t want Reyes or Ramirez on THIS TEAM. Ramirez *might* be someone to build a team around. So might Reyes (though that’s less true, to me).

    But Rollins, oh, Rollins is absolutely the type of player to build a team around. And in fact, the Phillies did that. They started with him, and the 2008 team is his team.

  37. Justin

    January 22, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    4 Phillies made Keith Law’s top 100 prospect list. Jason Donald #46, Carlos Carrassco #60, Dominic Brown #84, and Michael Taylor #100. Not bad except I can’t believe Lou Marson didn’t make the top 100 list.

  38. Brooks

    January 22, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Amen to that Tim! Jimmy is the heart and soul of this team.
    If Jimmy Rollins does not have a good season, the Phils will not repeat.
    Good being his natural ability to get the team motivated, hitting above .285, with close to 20 hrs, close to 200 hits, double digit triples and doubles. I think Jimmy found more of his running groove last year and I would not be surprised to see him at about 60 SB’s.
    Plus, he had a career high in walks and a career low in Strike outs last year. Given that he missed about 25 games the walks were a terrific sign. He struck out once every 10.1 ab’s this year, besting his 2005 season where he struck out an average 1/ 9.5 ab.

  39. Kevv

    January 22, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Wheels sucks

  40. Mike B.

    January 22, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Does anyone know what the report on Carrasco looks like?

  41. Scott B

    January 23, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    @ David W – –

    Keep thinking Reyes is the man. what has he proven in the MLB? That he is fast.


    good luck with that.

  42. Georgie

    January 23, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Chuck P-“one thing is for sure, the ladies are going to miss his ass in LF”-oh, truer words were never spoken, P the B had the sweetest ass on the team, fo sho!

  43. Latsha

    August 23, 2009 at 1:42 am

    great post, thanks for providing so much. Keep up the good posts.!

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