The Phils will carry on without Roy Halladay this year as pitchers and catchers report on Wednesday
It's that time of the season again, time to think Spring and baseball. I know, we've had a tough winter around here in the Philly area, storm after storm. Some people are just getting their electric back after it being knocked offline for up to a week following a wicked ice storm, how can we focus on baseball? More snow on the way for Wednesday and Thursday, you don't say...
On Wednesday in Clearwater, it will be time to get down to business for a big portion of the Phillies team, that of course is when the pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. It's a magical time of hope, of a new beginning, and of thoughts of previous great years. Each MLB team goes into Spring with a yearning to get to the playoffs and World Series. According to Sportbet.com, these teams have the best chance of winning the 2014 World Series.
In the catcher's spot, we're lucky to have retained a mainstay of the position, Carlos Ruiz. Ruiz has enjoyed a great run with the Phillies. He's meant a lot to this team over perhaps one of the greatest stretches than the Phillies have had in their entire history.
Phillies pitching great Roy Halladay, who now is retired, gave Ruiz some great compliments over the last couple of years especially after Halladay pitched two no-hitters in 2010. Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels have praised Ruiz the same way. It's something that pitchers especially know, that intangible trait of melding the right chemistry between pitcher and catcher.
Backing up Carlos Ruiz this year will be the veteran Will Nieves. Nieves is a 10 year veteran who has caught for the Yankees, Nationals, Brewers, and most recently the Arizona Diamondbacks. He steps in and will be a great guy to have in the catcher's position when Ruiz needs a day off, or if he should get injured.
In the pitcher's position, we'll see some familiar faces with Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee anchoring the rotation. Lee is arguably this rotation's ace with a 14-8 record last year, after having some incredibly bad luck in 2012 when he went just 6-9. Hamels is a World Series MVP, his season last year wasn't of that caliber, but he is due to really have a great year in 2014. Cole is just 1 more win away from 100 wins as a pitcher with the Phillies for his career.
So what about the rest of the rotation? The Phillies signed a pitcher named Miguel Gonzalez. Little is known about him so far. He's 27 years old, and was highly sought after by up to 7 teams that watched him throw in Mexico last year. Gonzalez is from Cuba, he had to escape Cuba to play in the US. It wasn't the first time for Gonzalez in wanting to get out of Cuba, a couple years ago, Gonzalez tried to escape Cuba for the first time and was unsuccessful, his penalty was a suspension and not playing for 2 years there in Cuba, but he never gave up the hope of eventually fleeing the communist country.
Gonzalez could turn into a great pitcher for the Phillies, again the key word is could. He is highly scouted though and signed a 3 year deal for $12M with the Phillies, so we'll be finding out real soon what impact he has on this Phillies team.
Jonathan Pettibone and Kyle Kendrick will most likely round out the starting rotation out of Spring Training for the 2014 season. Pettibone is only 23, he's the youngest of the Phils starting pitchers. Pettibone was drafted in the third round of the 2008 MLB draft by the Phillies.
So that is a look at the starters and the catchers that will be reporting to Spring Training, tomorrow, a look the relievers, and other pitchers coming to camp this year.