The Phillies signed journeyman Chris Woodward to fill out the minor league roster and give the team added depth. Woodward was with the Yankees this Spring and hit .393.
Woodward played for the Braves, Mets, and Blue Jays and is a career 243 hitter with 33 home runs and 186 RBIs. Woodward is primarily an infielder but has played every position except catcher.
Should an infielder get injured, Woodward would be a suitable back up for the Phillies.
The Phillies claimed Tim Lahey off waivers from the Chicago Cubs and out righted J.D. Durbin, Ray Olmedo, and Chris Snelling. Lahey had a rough Spring with the Cubs as he had a 6.55 ERA. Unless Rich Dubee can work a miracle, the expectations are not high here.
The hope with J.D. "not so real a deal" Durbin is that we never see him again in Philadelphia. Nothing more to say there. Snelling represents a good option if injuries hit the Phillies outfield.
The real deal here is the hope that the Phillies can deal Wes Helms for some decent pitching help. The team needs a starter and a reliever at this point. It appears Helms will be on the 25 man roster but a decision will have to be made when Brad Lidge returns from the disabled list on April 5th. With the pitching as it is, going with 11 pitchers may be too much to ask of the team.
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Much to the excitement of this fan and many others in the Delaware Valley, the NL East division champions are coming home to finish the last leg of Spring training and get ready for opening day. Are the Phillies ready? Will they start better this year then the past two years?
The Phillies are not as well prepared as fans would hope them to be, but neither are many other teams. They have question marks at number 4 and 5 in their starting rotation and their bullpen has holes. Wes Helms is still around and there seems to be no takers for his services. Jimmy Rollins has had a rough Spring as has Jayson Werth, Chris Coste, and several other position players.
But this is opening day, a time for optimism. A chance for any team to go out there and win a division and there are plenty of good signs. Brett Myers has been outstanding and Cole Hamels looks ready to have a huge season. Ryan Howard has been tearing the cover off the ball and could have his best season yet. Geoff Jenkins and Pedro Feliz are ready to contribute and the team should score even more runs then they did last year. Overall, the pitching should be better than last season and the law of averages tells us the Phillies can not have as many injuries to deal with as they did in 2007.
So what does this mean for April? Given the teams recent history in April and some of the early challenges they will face, my prediction is that the Phillies will play .500 ball in April, maybe a game above. Considering how the team heats up with the weather, this will give them a good enough start to win the NL East. Does anyone else have a prediction?
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Can Adam Eaton be a consistent number 5 starter for the Phillies? Can Tom Gordon stay healthy for a full season, pitch well, and close when called upon? The Phillies will leave Spring Training without an answer to either question.
Adam Eaton gave up 7 runs in 4 plus innings today and 14 runs in 17 innings this Spring making him
questionable at best for the upcoming season. With any other option, Eaton would be out of the running but with Blackley and the Durbins having dismal Springs and Kris Benson still recovering, the Phillies have no other choice. The Phils only hope like last year when Adam started is to score a lot of runs.
Tom Gordon was even worse today as he gave up 6 runs and has given up 13 in 8 innings in Grapefruit League play. With Brad Lidge a question mark early in the season, Gordon will have to be effective.
Any way you look at it, this is not the place the Phillies wanted to be with less than a week to the regular season.
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Everyone in baseball knows that Wes Helms is trade bait. There now seems to be some interest. One rumor has Helms going to the San Fransisco Giants for reliever Steve Kline. Kline, a 35 year old south paw, was 1-2 with a 4.70 ERA last season in 68 games. His numbers were not great but he would bring experience and another left handed option out of the bullpen.
The Phillies have also been linked to a deal with the Reds for Mike Stanton although their need for Helms seems slim. Stanton is soon to be 41and had a 5.93 ERA in 69 games. Another player could be dealt for Stanton if the Kline deal is not done. Looking at the Phillies bullpen, they should trade for both of them!
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Adam Eaton needs to have a good start today. It is his last start of the Spring and he needs to have command of his pitches, confidence, and no pain as he embarks on his 2008 campaign.
2007 was a forgettable season for Eaton who had the highest ERA of any starter in the league. Much of his problems can be linked to health so Adam being pain free may be the key to his success in 2008.
With Kyle Kendrick a question mark, the team needs him to step up and be the pitcher the team thought they were signing last offseason. After today, the Phillies should have a better idea of what to expect from Adam Eaton.
Brett Myers is ready for opening day. He dominated the New York Yankees today for five innings and will next start opening day for the Phillies. Myers did give up his first statistical walk of the Spring but pitched five shut out innings, threw all of his pitches with control and conviction, and looked the part of staff ace.
Andrew Carpenter showed he may be albe to contribute sooner rather than later. He pitched 2 shut out innings including striking out the side in the seventh inning. Remember his name, you may be seeing him at Citizens Bank Park real soon!
Rollins contributed with the bat knocking in two runs with a single against starter Chien-Ming Wang. Pat Burrell had two hits and swung the bat well in his first 3 at bats. Geoff Jenkins who has come on as of late added two hits and said he has felt more comfortable in the box over the last 6 games.
The Phillies are winning 4-0 in the eighth inning.