Season Preview: Third Base

In their 120 year history, the Phillies have never had a position player as good as third baseman Michael Jack Schmidt.  In his 18-years in the MLB, all spent in Philadelphia, Schmidt went to 12 All-Star games, won the title of Most Valuable Player three times, won ten Gold Gloves, six Silver Sluggers, and hit 548 home runs, a number that is still the most for any third baseman, and 15th most by any player, regardless of position.  Just to further prove his dominance, Schmidt was voted into the Major League Baseball Hall-of-Fame in 1995 with a resounding 96.5 percent approval rate by the BBWAA.

But now, just 23 years after Schmidt retired, third base seems to be the Phillies’ major weakness, not having a stable, consistent player at the hot corner since Scott Rolen left the team in the middle of 2002.  And though he has contributed to the Phillies’ offense, with current third baseman Placido Polanco, the only thing that seems consistent is injury. Continue reading

The Washington Nationals’ “State of the Union”

Much like the Miami Marlins did, the Nationals restocked their roster and pitching staff this

Stephen Strasburg will lead a young, determined rotation in 2012.

offseason, however they did not change their name. Meet the newest threat to the Phillies’ reign over the NL East (sounds familiar), the 2012 Washington Nationals.

Let’s start with the position players in the Nationals’ starting nine, or rather, eight. Continue reading

Worst to First? The 2012 Miami Marlins

Last season, the Marlins stormed out of the gates, playing to a 16-9 record after the

The Marlins' new look

season’s first month. Then, after an average month of May, everything went downhill. June was a nightmare for the artists formerly known as the Florida Marlins: a 5-23 record, the loss of staff ace Josh Johnson, and the firing of manager Edwin Rodriguez took the Marlins off of the list of contenders last year. Just think about this — in the months of June and August, the Marlins were a combined 12-43. 12 wins in two months. To put that into perspective, the Phillies won 16 or more games  in every single month last season and only lost more than 12 in a month twice.

After finishing dead last in the NL East last year, they will be bottomfeeders no more: Meet the newest legitimate threat to the Phillies’ reign of terror — The 2012 Miami Marlins.

Continue reading

Season Preview: Shortstop

Jimmy Rollins is the Phillies shortstop.  Those six words have been true for twelve years now, but for almost three months after the season ended, Rollins’ contract status was in limbo, many people unsure of whether the 2007 NL MVP would be back for a 2012 campaign.  While it was hard to imagine Rollins in another uniform, it was also hard to justify spending elite-level money for a 33-year-old with a quickly declining bat.  However, eventually the Phillies gave in to the desires of the Phillies de facto captain, giving him three years and $11 million per year, with a fourth year that is heavy with bonuses, making him earn his money. Continue reading

Season Preview: Second Base

He’s been one of the cornerstones of the Phillies offense since 2005.  He’s been a fan-favorite, not afraid to say what’s on his mind, even if it isn’t exactly “appropriate” to say on television.  But quite frankly, the past two years he’s been nothing but average.

Five-time all-star Chase Utley was once a guy who won four straight Silver Slugger awards, constantly hit 30 home runs and 100 RBIs, and was able to hit five home runs in a losing World Series effort.  But now, Utley is a frequently injured, sub .260 batter that, despite still showing flashes and streaks of brilliance, simply lacks the consistency to be considered an elite second baseman. Continue reading