That time of the year is quickly approaching, folks. Pitchers and catchers report in just two days. On paper, the 2010 Phillies look better than they did at this point in 2009. The lineup is set, the bench is improved, but there are still a few question marks headed into spring training.
It’s unsure how Placido Polanco will transition to third base. It’s also unknown who will be the left-handed specialist if J.C Romero is not ready by the beginning of the season. But here are the three biggest concerns headed into spring training:
By now, we know his 2009 numbers — an earned run average over seven and eleven blown saves. He had one of the worst seasons as a closer, ever. Lidge had two surgeries this off-season, and his status for Opening Day is unknown.
Lidge may not be ready by the start of the season, but he should not miss a significant amount of time. In the occasions that Lidge had an off year, he followed it up with a decent year. If the pattern continues, Lidge is due for a good season.
Last year, Hamels pitched average for a major league pitcher. For Cole Hamels, it was a subpar season. As the 2008 NLCS and World Series MVP, Hamels had plenty of off-season distractions last off-season. It’ll be interesting to hear how Hamels prepared for the 2010 season. Hopefully, he had more time to focus, but the biggest concern is improving his curveball.
Hamels’ curveball problems were easily noticed in last year’s division series. If Hamels is unable to improve his curveball, he should immedietly switch to a slider or cut-fastball. As a two-pitch pitcher, it is important for Hamels to develop a third pitch. Adding another pitch will make him that much scarier of a pitcher.
Ruben Amaro Jr. already proclaimed that the fifth spot in the rotation is Moyer’s to lose. However, Moyer had multiple surgeries and health problems this off-season. The 47-year old remains optimistic that he’ll be ready to pitch this spring, and was also open to the idea of pitching in 2011!
If Moyer does not win the fifth starter’s job, it’ll be interesting to see who wins it: Kyle Kendrick? Andrew Carpenter? Or somebody else?