We are only a few weeks away from the boys of summer making their return to the diamond. Spring Training is in the air and finally, Phillies baseball is once again a daily part of our lives.
However, as I was reading a tremendous article a week or two back written by ESPN's Jayson Stark, a thought popped into my head. Stark was talking about the best and worst offseason moves in baseball, and the Phillies were not mentioned even once in the article. I talked to Jon Marks, of 97.5 the Fanatic, last week about it and he too agreed that he was a bit startled at the fact that Stark, a guy who usually gives great praise to the Phillies organization, did not give the Fightins a single remark on their offseason moves.
This now begs the question that I think a lot of Phillies fans have in the back of their head..Has the Phillies window of opportunity closed? Is this the final chance for this group of guys to bring home one last title to the City of Brotherly Love?
My answer: Yes, the window is closing on this Phillies team that we've known and loved the past few years. We can bring any factor into play, whether it be age, injury, or even the ability left in the arsenal of guys like Utley and Halladay. However, this Phillies team still deserves to get more attention from the national media.
They have been flying under the radar all offseason, picking up players like veteran Michael Young, Ben Revere, and even a guy who I believe could be a dark horse on this team in Delmon Young, who don't forget was the ALCS MVP just a year ago with Detroit. Although guys like Rollins and Utley have gotten older, it is clear that when healthy, these guys can still perform.
J-Roll was able to put up almost 70 RBI's last year, and Utley keeps on saying how his knees have felt good all Spring Training. We also can't overlook the fact that the Big Piece is batting over .400 right now, and Dom Brown has also looked extremely sharp over the first few weeks of spring ball.
I understand it's only Spring Training, but if guys like Brown and Ruf can step up and earn their spot on this team, the rotation full of workhorses like Halladay, Lee, and the new #1 ace Cole Hamels can play like the big three we saw two years ago, the new guys in Revere, Adams, and the two Youngs can be the surprising pickups that Amaro believes they can be, and if the older guys like Howard and Utley can continue to stay healthy; this team could be a real threat this year. Mark my words.
And as Philly fans, we can only hope so, because as Jon Marks and myself both believe, this might be the last chance this group of guys have to get the job done, and bring us one last parade down Broad Street. The media can overlook this team all they want. The fact of the matter is the team still has talent, and these players I believe still have gas in the tank to get it done. It all comes down to injuries. We've seen it the past few years with this team. If these older guys can stay healthy, then maybe, just maybe, they can give us Philly faithfuls one last hoorah, and one last chance at reliving the excitement we felt on that unforgettable October 29th day in 2008.