BY SPENCER REITER, Contributor
After an intense two weeks of winter meetings in the Phillies organization, with the signing of Roy Halladay, Phillies fans have yet to shift their focus from pitching. The team’s main focuses going into this off-season were their troublesome bullpen and shoring up the rotation, but as we get even closer to Spring Training, there is still plenty of work to be done.
With the signing of Roy Halladay the rotation for this season seems to be extremely dangerous, except for the few missing pieces, and what crucial pieces they are.
The Phillies still need to find the final part of their rotation. Many have wondered what Jamie Moyer’s role will be with the organization this season. Moyer, 47, who has been an effective pitcher through his storied, lengthy big league career, had a somewhat rough season last year and was hurt for the end of the season and the entire postseason. Whether or not Moyer can bring himself to become healthy enough to become a starting pitcher again remains a question mark. Team doctors are saying his procedure should allow for him to fully recover and pitch with out issue this season. However, so far, things have gone far from routine. Moyer has been back in the hospital with complications from the proceedings since his postseason operation.
As of now it looks like Moyer could play an important role in the Phils bullpen. Moyer, who is known as a off speed pitch type of guy, could be helpful by switching up the flow of the game. With pitchers like Halladay, Hamels, Blanton and Happ, who all have good fastballs, Moyer would be able to change the tempo of the game.
Finally a man we would all love to see in the final spot of the rotation, Pedro Martinez. Although he struggled after first joining the team, Pedro proved himself as a Phillie in the postseason, pitching a few wonderful games. If the Phils choose to sign Pedro again, he would continue to be a great help to the rotation, and definitely a reliable contribution to the team.
To then pen we go now, where the Phillies are looking to improve a shaky, to say the least, group from 2009. While there are no signs of the Phillies acquiring someone who could change the bullpen drastically, the Phillies still have some key players who can help improve the pen with experience. J.C Romero, who missed the first 50 games, for testing positive to banned substances and then battling an injury last season, could be a huge factor in the bullpen, and help secure the middle and late innings, which was the main problem for the team last year.
Ryan Madson, although put in at times as a closer last year to help the struggling Brad Lidge, could become a threat for late innings to set up Lidge. With closing pressure off of his shoulders, Madson will now be able to work on his pitching for the late innings, and therefor become more effective when it matters.
Finally, Lights Out Lidge will be back to join the Phils for another year. We all know how Lidge struggled all through last year, coming off a perfect season in 2008. Charlie Manuel showed the fans numerous times he had faith in Lidge. Faith is a good thing, but your gut feeling isn’t always going to work out. This season, Lidge needs to work on his mental preparation, and getting out of bad situations. If Lidge is able to accomplish this, we could see the old, perfect closer we had in ’08. The bullpen needs some work, but don’t doubt that the Phillies will do everything they can to improve on a talented nucleus.
If the Phillies can put together these two main factors, it should make for a successful season.