The last few weeks haven’t revealed anything we didn’t already know about the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies.
Daily affirmation: The Phillies’ record holds at 0-0. Their ERA is 0.00. How much does this putrid spring matter? It depends who you ask. Last year’s top concerns included Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard’s weight, Jon Lieber’s role and Aaron Rowand’s lousy play. Wes Helms was raking like a superstar. Zach Segovia pitched his way into the Phils' rotation (for one game). Those who support the notion that spring matters can point toward a lackluster spring one year ago, immediately followed by a dismal April mired in poor execution. They look at Howard's slump and nagging leg. Those who oppose the notion look at Rowand, Helms and Gavin Floyd's Magical March of 2006.
But frankly, the last few weeks haven’t taught us anything we didn’t already know. J.D. and Chad are a dime a Durbin. This isn't new information. They’re with the Phils because they were unwanted by their previous club, in J.D.’s case, many clubs. The bottom of the bullpen appears a little thin, and they're still looking for outside help. No kidding. They're auditioning players who couldn't cut it a year ago, and they didn't make significant improvements deeper in ranks. Brad Lidge’s knee would put him behind schedule. Ruben Amaro Jr. said this months ago. Adam Eaton is no good. We knew this last May.
The only new information – Kris Benson is further along than expected. The other notable surprise: The number of people who believe Kyle Kendrick will see his sophomore shadow (hat tip to Jake for the photo). If he flops, can we blame the writers for giving the kid an inferiority complex?
Bring on March 31. It’s totally worth remembering that the Phils open the season by sending Hamels and Brett Myers up against whatever second-tier duo the Nationals come up with. Ideally, and realistically, the buck stops there and you can forget about the Grapefruit League drama and its second-rate cast.
Holdzkom offered back, refused by Red Sox: Right-handed reliever Lincoln Holdzkom, a late pick in the Rule 5 draft, is now a free agent, according to Phillies.com. It's possible the Phillies will offer him a minor league deal, the same process that kept Shane Victorino with the Phils back in 2004. Holdzkom was considered a longshot to remain on the 25-man roster.
Game chat: Ryan Madson tackles the Reds. The team says it's just a way to give Madson innings against starting players. The game is in Clearwater tonight at 7:05 p.m.. Clay Condrey, Francisco Rosario and Carlos Carrasco are also scheduled.