Cole Hamels is the top priority for the Philadelphia Phillies, including any direction they take. And, remember, Rube Amaro has done his due diligence to re-up the other stars of this championship-oriented core. Do you ink Jimmy Rollins to his favorable agreement with your stud lefty in his walk year?
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CAP-SIZE HINDSIGHT: 4-3 Outcome
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This is an article that got buried by the return of Ryan Howard, and I decided to publish an updated version.
( The Before preceded the last outing by King Cole.
Despite the fact that the club is among the sellers in the standings, I would be surprised by a trade of King Cole. When you figure 8 games behind the second wild-card spot as the boundary, there are 8 organizations on the wrong side. The red pinstripes are at the 10 mark, which is in front of only 6 other franchises. The other 7 total are: Kansas City (9 out), Minnesota (10.5), Seattle (11.5), San Diego (13), the Cubs (13), Colorado (13) and Houston (13.5). The GM may deal Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, Polly Polanco or Hunter Pence, but not the young southpaw.
The driving force behind a team with the framework for more than one title is rooted in central characters who have experienced many losing summers together. They are mostly farm-system products, because the club had early draft picks due to numerous abysmal campaigns. Hamels, Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are the heart of the beast. These are the stars at the beginning of the line for the paymaster’s window. J-Roll’s new contract and Ryno’s deal indicate the mechanism in place for Cole to remain a Phillie.
Atlanta leads for the 2nd wild card and the other is held by Cincinnati. The Mets have a porous defense with a weak bullpen, and they are looking for another closer. Tim Lincecum lost his fastball last year and he can no longer get by on his reputation. The Braves have pitching problems and their sticks mostly carry them, which is why they are streaky. The Fish added Carlos Lee to fill a 1st-base hole. However, Giancarlo Stanton is now out for 1-2 months, and Heath Bell was a 1-year hammer. The Reds, Cards and Bucs will beat each other.
Utley is better than last season, Howard is ready to make an impact, and Doc Halladay will probably start the 5th contest after the break. Then, there is the lineup for the 2nd half: Rollins (1), Juan Pierre (2), Utley (3), Howard (4), Chooch Ruiz (5), Pence (6), Victorino (7) and Polanco (8). There is no doubt in my mind that the bats, gloves, and most of the arms are strong. The only exception is for the 7th and 8th innings. Their biggest need is a decent reliever for the backend.
After their rock-bottom finish for the first half, Amaro has to make retooling plans, which can only be postponed with a strong 6 battles in Colorado and Los Angeles. Don’t confuse that with rebuilding, but it might feature rookies as well, like Tyler Cloyd. If Kyle Kendrick stumbles, Cloyd could slot 5th behind Vance Worley and the 3 aces. But it could also include the return of FA Michael Bourne for all anybody knows.
The Phils have big commitments with Halladay ($20M), Cliff Lee ($25M), Howard ($20M), Utley ($15M), Jonathan Papelbon ($13M) and Rollins ($11M) for a total of $104M. Rube’s favored acquisitions are the best pitchers and those 3 are in the list above. That list also contains every member of the core four except for Cole, who arrived at fulltime status in 2007. Hamels is the only player to fit in both categories. And don’t forget billionaire John S. Middleton, who approved the dollars for Lee.
He has had the weight lifted from his shoulders, has a recharging break in progress, and an entire second half ahead. Look for him to go on a dominant run or two, beginning in Denver.
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He has lasted 7 frames in 2 of 12 attempts with 4 monstrosities at home (5 total). He is 1-3 with a 9.62 ERA at Coors for 5 appearances. However, he will be limited to 75 bullets with their 4-man rotation.
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Quality number of the pitcher: 1 – 5
Slot on his club: 1 – 5
Ranking is 1 to 5 & 15 for the less adventurous.
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DISPLAY NOTE: Non-listed results can go up or down by
* 1 notch & ** 2 clicks (This note will only appear when it’s relevant.)
* 1 Tick UP
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Philadelphia Phillies storyline: Re-signing Hamels? (Horsemen stats)