As Jim Salisbury wrote for CSNPhilly.com on Wednesday, the Phillies got a lot of answers about their roster this spring. Just about every position has been established, the bullpen is lined up and the batting order is slotted the way manager Charlie Manuel likes it with Jimmy Rollins and Ben Revere taking turns at the top.
But when Halladay takes the mound at Bright House Field in his spring finale on Thursday, it could be the most important moment of the early season.
As Salisbury wrote:
Halladay’s spring has caused some anxiety within the organization. That anxiety could be eased or heightened depending on his performance Thursday afternoon against the Blue Jays. Halladay faced a Jays’ minor-league club on Saturday and was hit hard. After that game, he said he was working on things, particularly his sinker and cutter, and tinkering with grips. He said he would approach Thursday’s start more like a regular-season game where he mixes pitches, etc. The plan is for Halladay to throw between 90 and 100 pitches, which would put him on target to start in Atlanta next Wednesday night. (That’s the tentative plan, though nothing is official.)
Needless to say, all eyes will be focused on Halladay as camp comes to a close Thursday.
“I just want him to pitch, feel good, throw the ball and see what he’s got,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “I think he’s going to be OK. I always say hitting is a feel thing. Pitching is, too. It’s just a matter of him getting everything together and feeling strong.”
Certainly the speculation on Halladay and the so-called "window of opportunity" for the Phillies has been written about extensively. No matter what happens in Halladay's outing on Thursday, that isn't going to change any time soon.
Phils No. 5 in value
Forbes has released its annual list of baseball's most valuable franchises, and the Phillies have again placed fifth behind the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox and Cubs. The top five is unchanged from a year ago.
The Phillies are currently valued at $893 million, the only team in the top five not to reach the $1 billion mark, but up from their 2012 appraisal of $723 million. As Forbes notes, the franchise is currently negotiating a new television contract with Comcast SportsNet.