The Phillies figure to add last-minute depth to the bench and bullpen, but even if they can’t, they’re set up for a successful title defense.
During Philadelphia’s 25-year title drought, one of my greatest fears was that the team that finally snapped the skid would be viewed as a fluke. Thankfully, the 2008 Phillies were the real deal, and they compare favorably with the rest of the league heading into 2009. If they’re not at the very top, they’re definitely top three. In addition to the starting lineup and rotation, they’re constructed very well in terms of contracts, balance and minor league depth. They’re flexible, and while they may not be set up for the long-term success of a team like Tampa Bay, they’re equipped with as many impact players in their prime as any team in baseball.
With news that Ty Wigginton has signed a two-year deal with Baltimore, it’s a reminder that you can’t get them all; Baltimore represented a better opportunity for Wigginton to earn playing time. However, there’s still time to address loose ends. A reliever like Will Ohman would upgrade an already excellent bullpen, and Nomar Garciaparra – still in the crosshairs – would give the bench plenty of depth.
The team believes they’re deeper than any Phillies club in recent memory, and I’m inclined to agree. But I also believe that the last-minute touches, like Ohman and Nomar, would go a long way to guarantee that the Phils aren’t just good; they’re dominant.