Monday, January 26, 2009

Fifth Spot in Rotation

Want the good news or the bad news first? The bad? Well yes, Adam Eaton is still a member of the Phillies, and even more astoundingly, is due to make $8.5 million in 2009. Mercifully, the good news is that he has thrown his last pitch for this team. While it's a shame for the team to throw that money down the drain, it'd be even more of a shame to justify sending him to the hill again just because of the salary he is "earning."

Ruben Amaro all but confirmed Eaton's situation saying, "It's a four man competition, and [Eaton] is not involved in that," while commenting on the team's opening for a fifth starter.

The four competing pitchers will be, Kyle Kendrick, J.A. Happ, Chan Ho Park and Carlos Carrasco.

Here's to hoping it goes to anyone but Park. I can justify giving it to anyone but him. Kendrick went an impressive 10-4 with a 3.87 ERA in 2007. He had a sophomore slump in 2008, struggling down the stretch and ultimately losing his rotation spot. He is still a young and promising player, and could certainly bounce back to his poised 2007 form.

The lefthanded Happ is another young and promising player, and he proved that he belongs in the big leagues with four solid starts at the end of 2008. Having Happ at the bottom of the rotation also lets the Phils set up their rotation in an interesting way, varying between left and righthanded starters; Hamels (left), Myers (right), Moyer (left), Blanton (right) and Happ (left).

The most interesting selection would be Carrasco, one of the Phillies' top prospects and possibly the future stud of the rotation. It will be interesting to see if the Carrasco era starts in 2009, and if so, how it plays out. If he lives up to the hype, he could be a dominant force that could solidify this rotation into one of the best in baseball.

Park is a solid option out of the bullpen, but likely not much more. He is a veteran arm that teams like to have, but he puts up rather mediocre numbers every year. It would benefit the team more to go with a young arm with some life and potential in it.

It will be interesting to see how it plays out over the course of Spring Training and throughout the season. Thankfully, Eaton will not be involved in that battle, but in a perfect world, the team would be spending that $8.5 million on something useful. Like maybe a new ball-boy, a few new ball-girls, a bigger jersey for Charlie Manuel and a motorized wheelchair for Jamie Moyer.

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