With the big trades now out of the way, Phillies fans are still left wondering who will fill the voids in the bullpen for 2010. Chan Ho Park is unlikely to return as discussions with the club have not been fruitful. Scott Eyre is still a maybe and those returning from injury, like Brad Lidge and JC Romero, may not be ready to go in April. There are a number of names being tossed around like the ageless John Smoltz, Bob Howry of the Giants and Kiko Calero of the Marlins. However, it does not look like the Phils are close to a solution yet.
The two young lefties they used a bit last year who may fill some holes are Antonio Bastardo and Sergio Escalona. Bastardo appeared in only 6 games before being put on the DL with a shoulder injury. He was very wild in the zone and oddly enough, pitched better to right-handed batters than lefties. Bastardo shows potential, but there is still a big question mark as to whether he can cut it in the Majors. Escalona pitched in 14 games and ended with a 4.61 ERA. Lefties hit only .200 off him. But at 25 years of age and lacking experience, how much he can help out as a lefty specialist is unknown.
The bottom line is, the Phillies need bullpen arms. And the ones they have need to get and stay healthy. IF GM Ruben Amaro Jr. cannot pull off a decent trade and are forced to rely on youngsters like Bastardo and Escalona, it is going to be another rocky year for the pen.
As for the rest of the team, the Phillies have guaranteed a solid infield for at least the next 2 years as they have picked up the option on Jimmy Rollins’ contract. The 8.5 million dollar option ensures Rollins will stay with the club at least through 2011.
This move was a no-brainer; Rollins is an integral part of the nucleus of this team. He is also the best dancer on the team, which in terms of sheer entertainment value, is totally worth the 8.5 million.
Photos by Jenn