The calendar days are flying by, it’s hard to think about Spring Training in the Delaware Valley today because of an inbound snow storm that could leave a foot of snow on various parts of the area. Nevermind the snow though, because in only a few weeks, it will be pitchers and catchers reporting down in Clearwater for another baseball season.
What can we expect from this year’s Phillies team? For one thing, they should be healthier than ever. Ryan Howard has been a non-factor on this team for a long time now, his presence should be felt more this season, and hopefully so because the Phillies have been paying him a boatload of money and really haven’t seen the return in Howard for that windfall.
It will also be the first season that the Phillies new skipper, Ryne Sandberg, gets to show how well he will manage in the big leagues. Will he prove the Cubs were very wrong in not giving him a manager’s job well before he got the chance with the Phillies?
The Phillies again this offseason signed a few players, one of them was supposed to be a superstar many years ago, in Marlon Byrd. For Byrd, it’s probably like something out of a movie. His career seemed finished at 35 years old as the Red Sox let him go, and then the MLB suspended him for 50 games for violating the league’s banned substances list. It would have been easy for him to fold up and call it a day. He didn’t though, the following season (last year) the Mets invited Bryd to their Spring Training and in November of 2013, the Phillies paid him an unbelieveable $16M for 2 seasons when he was just making above league minimum for all of the 2013 season.
So there are a lot of stories in the mix here for the Phillies 2014 season. The Phillies lost the services of Doc Halladay, but kept Carlos Ruiz by giving him a new contract. The Phillies certainly must have the most veterans of any team in the MLB as starters.
Chase Utley has been quoted as saying that he thinks the Phillies can contend in 2014, but this contending is getting to be sort of a cliche now, as the Phillies have been saying that for the past couple seasons and don’t really have the results to back that up.