Son of a Howard, Starting Fresh
Out of the heartland comes a story on Ryan Howard's upbringing, his father, his days crushing the ball in college and his finally formally receiving the Rookie of the Year Award, joining Scott Rolen as the only Phillies to win the accolade in the past 25 years. Most phans are assuming big things from Howard this season, so it's probably good that he is projected to still hit in the sixth spot oin the lineup. One hope however, that he is eventually moved to fourth, giving Pat Burrell a chance to look at outside corner strikes lower in the order.
Meanwhile, the search for another starter continues. Of course, the Phils have a fairly well-pedigreed starter candidate already on their roster who they are currently grooming for a job, albeit with bullpen service as a backup plan still dancing in their heads. Signing an experienced setup man is still a possibility, but realisticly, it's just as likely that an aquilino lopez or chris booker emerges to fill the role through pre-season auditions. In other news, Ted Lilly signed a one-year deal with the Jays worth $4 million. Also, Erik Bedard inked a 1-year, $1.4 million deal to return to the Orioles. Granted, Bedard is an emotional retard and Ted Lilly stinks, but suddenly the Ryan Franklin signing looks that much worse.
That's the ugly news. The other side of things is that the Phillies were and are a bigger mess to clean than is fair. Gillick's comment that his team is not good enough to win the division has been given too much attention on the web today. Simply put, it's not news. Anyone who's watched baseball the past few years and half-paid attention this off-season knows that this team hasn't won anything and still has holes to fill. This year, for a change, the organization is addressing those not by recruiting specific players, but by inviting volume, competition, and to some extent, youth. Likewise, the claim that Gillick has tipped his hand in negotiations with other teams by admitting to his teams hurling shortcomings is a ridiculous claim. No one doesn't know it. What Gillick has done, in the meantime when it seems he's waiting for Godot, is to wait out a mediocre market to find he couldn't have spent his money any better and sooner and the time to trade is never imminent.
Patience is a four-letter word in Philadelphia, but it is still a virtue.