What's the deal with Pat the Bat?
Is Burrell worth it? I'm not sure. He's streaky--he dazzled in the spring of 2008, and then slumped later on in the year. That being said, he gave the Phillies a lot of homers, RBIs, and walks, and he had a couple really key offensive plays in the postseason. Then again, the man's a notoriously slow runner and sometimes pays more attention to fixing his hair than running for balls hit into his little corner of the outfield. But still, isn't there something to be said for home-grown talent? He's spent his baseball career with the Phillies. Phillies fans (and not just the ladies who think he's cute!) seem to want him to stay. Whether or not he'll be playing in Philly in 2009 is anyone's guess. I can see him being quite the attractive player for some American League team looking for a DH. It solves the problem of him being slow in the outfield and would probably keep him from getting so tuckered out.
If Burrell doesn't come back to Philly next season, the Phillies are certainly prepared: they've got Werth, Victorino, Dobbs, Geoff Jenkins and Matt Stairs who can all do the outfielder thing. (I'd love to see Dobbs get some more playing time--I think he's severely underrated. And smokin' hot. But I digress...) But Jenkins has been on a gradual decline, Stairs is no spring chicken, and I'm always hearing rumors about the Phillies considering using Victorino and/or Werth as trade bait (that thought terrifies me--I don't want to see the Phillies get rid of these young, fresh players).
In terms of pitching, with Hamels, Blanton, and Myers locked in for 2009, the Phillies have some good consistency. I'm really hoping they bring back Moyer, who--despite the fact that he's not a young whippersnapper like that Hamels kid--was incredibly consistent in the 2008 season. Yeah, his fastball's not all that fast, but he's patient and in control, and sometimes that's the perfect combination. I'm guessing that J.A. Happ and Kyle Kendrick will be battling it out for a fifth rotation position...and I'm curious about this Carlos Carrasco dude everybody's talking about!
I think the makeup of the 2009 lineup is really gonna come down to money. The reality is, the Phillies might not be able to afford to keep Burrell. Since new GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. says that focusing on pitching is the team's priority, I'm not convinced that they're gonna shell out the dough to keep Burrell in Philly if they have the opportunity to explore a new (and cheaper) pitching prospect instead. Speaking of money, can I tell you how relieved I am that the Phillies probably don't have the money to try to get Manny Ramirez? As much as I respect Manny's abilities as a ballplayer, I don't think he'd fit in with the Phillies at all...and he's not exactly known for being the best team player, you know?
The Phillies are fresh off a Fall Classic win, with a new GM, with a big-and-getting-bigger payroll, and with a couple player-related question marks in the air. Buckle up, kiddos--I have a feeling that the offseason's going to be just as much of a wild ride for Phillies fans as the 2008 season was!
About the author: NIKKI is the snarky little so-and-so behind RED PEN, INC. She also talks baseball facts and baseball fluff over at THE BILF REPORT. She's a die-hard, lifelong Phillies fan who's still really, really giddy about the Phillies' World Series win.