We looked at the Phillies impending free agents, let’s look at what next year’s team should look like. The four aces plus the Vanimal return, again providing the Phillies with the best roataion in baseball. Joe Blanton is under contract, and having been injured all year, we might be stuck with him, but if we can trade him, adios. Kyle Kendrick proved valuable in a swing role, but is replaceable. If we can trade him for a need, do so. The bullpen can be filled from within and will look something like this: Antonio Bastardo (L), Joe Savery (L), , David Herndon, Joe Blanton, Brad Lidge, Michael Schwimer and Mike Stutes (possibly substituting Kendrick for Blanton depending on trade possibilities). There is the 12 man pitching staff.
In the infield, Polanco, Utley, Rollins (or prospect Freddy Galvis if Rollins signs elsewhere) and Mayberry, at least until Howard returns (usual recovery time from Achilles tendon surgery is 6 to 9 months). The infield is aging, and none of these players (excepting Mayberry) is likely to play a full season (injuries must be factored in). I’d like to see them sign a more viable offensive infielder, one who would be an almost every day player, starting at very infield position and giving that player a day off. In other words, five players filling four positions, each one getting rest and , if all goes according to plan, staying more productive throughout the season because of this rotation. Texas’ Michael Young would be ideal. In addition to these five, one more tradition utility player, Wilson Valdez, would make the team. Two catchers, this year’s tandem Carlos Ruiz and Brian Schneider (excellent defensively, can’t hit a lick) return, at least until prospect Sebastion Valle is ready (expect to see him at Reading this year).
That brings the roster to 20, with the five remaining spots going to outfielders Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, and Domonic Brown. Bring back Ibanez as left-handed pinch hitter and Ben Francisco as the right-handed pinch hitter and we’re set. Mayberry can also fill in here as well, and will likely do so when Howard returns.
Of course, this looks very much like this year’s roster, and one thing we’ve seen from General manager Ruben Amaro Jr., he’s not afraid to make a bold move, something to shake up a batting lineup that has perhaps gone a little stale. The winter meetings should be veeeery interesting.