2010 NL East Preview: Phillies Should Win Third Straight Pennant

March 31, 2010 by  
Filed under Fan News

The Phillies made a valiant attempt to defend their championship last season, but came up shy as they eventually fell to the Yankees in the World Series. Nonetheless, the loss to the Bronx Bombers should not diminish the club’s accomplishments during the season—an NL East title (with a 93-69 record) and a second straight National League pennant.

General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. went into the offseason hoping to build a team that would return to the World Series again in 2010, while simultaneously creating a roster that would allow the team to remain competitive for the next few years.

With that in mind, he traded star left-hander Cliff Lee in a three-team deal that netted his club star right-hander Roy Halladay. Lee was a free-agent-to-be who was determined to test free agency at the end of the season while Halladay was a free-agent-to-be who was willing to negotiate an extension (which the team and player later finalized).

By virtue of that trade alone, the Phillies have virtually guaranteed they’ll field a championship caliber club for at least the next two or three seasons (assuming good health).

Key Additions: P Danys Baez, P Jose Contreras, UT Ross Gload, P Roy Halladay, 3B Placido Polanco, C Brian Schneider

Key Subtractions: C Paul Bako, 3B Pedro Feliz, P Cliff Lee, P Pedro Martinez, P Brett Myers, P Chan Ho Park, OF Matt Stairs

Key Performer, 2010: P Cole Hamels

Starting Rotation

Halladay (17-10, 2.79) immediately becomes the staff ace. Rescued from a stagnant Blue Jays team and the hyper-competitive AL East, he figures to post 20 wins and win the NL Cy Young Award if he remains healthy. Lefty Cole Hamels (10-11, 4.32) is coming off a disappointing 2009 campaign and is positioned for a strong rebound season. LHP J. A. Happ (12-4, 2.93) performed well in his first season in the rotation (23 starts) and could provide the Phils with the same kind of 1-2-3 punch the Red Sox and Yankees have atop of their respective rotations. RHP Joe Blanton (12-8, 4.05) is unspectacular, but solid. He’ll eat innings, win in double digits, and post a decent ERA and WHIP… just don’t expect him to do anything more. Southpaw Jamie Moyer (12-10, 4.94) will be playing in his 24th season this year. He was bad in 2007, good in 2008, and bad again last year… so he’s due to have another good season in 2010.


The Phillies are hoping that Brad Lidge (0-8, 7.21, 31 saves) will re-discover the form that made him 41-for-41 in saves back in 2008. While they don’t need him to be perfect, they need him to at least resemble the pitcher he was in their world championship season. RHP Ryan Madson (5-5, 3.26) will be Lidge’s primary setup man and could close if Lidge struggles again. LHP J C Romero will be called on to get big outs in both the 7th and 8th innings. RHP Contreras will replace Park and should prove capable of pitching lots of meaningful innings to bridge the gap to the late innings. RHPs Chad Durbin and Danys Baez fill out the rest of the relief corps.


The Phillies lineup is the deepest in the National League. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins (.250, 21 HR, 77 RBI, 31 SB) will lead off in spite of the fact that he sported just a .296 OBP last season. There are others in the lineup who are more capable of filling the role effectively (Shane Victorino), but skipper Charlie Manuel apparently doesn’t want to upset one of his key contributors. Polanco is one of the best 2-hole hitters in the game and will assume that role in Philly.

2B Chase Utley (.282/31/93), 1B Ryan Howard (.279/45/141), and RF Jayson Werth (.268/36/99) form one of the best 3-4-5 combinations in all of baseball—They will cause opposing pitchers to have many a sleepless night after charting games.

LF Raul Ibanez (.272/34/93) and CF Victorino (.292/10/62) ensure pitchers can’t take a breather once they get past Werth. C Carlos Ruiz (.255/9/43 in 322 AB) will hit eighth.


The Phillies will be improved in 2010. Putting Halladay atop the rotation for the entire season adds four or five wins. A rebound season from Hamels should do likewise.

The lineup is formidible from top to bottom. Polanco won’t hit as many home runs as Feliz, but he will prove invaluable behind Rollins at the top of the order. Ruiz will post better numbers with more playing time and help make up for the marginal decline in power from Feliz to Polanco.

The Phillies will win the NL East and likely cruise into the World Series yet again, awaiting the Red Sox—who will beat the Yankees in the ALCS.

SOX1Forecast: 102-60, 1st place.


Philadelphia Phillies — Top Five Prospects

1. OF Domonic Brown
2. OF Tyson Gillies
3. P Phillippe Aumont
4. OF Anthony Gose
5. P Jarred Cosart

Read more Philadelphia Phillies news on BleacherReport.com

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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