The Major League Baseball offseason is always one of speculation and anticipation of the possibility of a team’s potential. The much touted debut of the starting pitching staff of the Philadelphia Phillies is no exception. Like a bad spaghetti western, the Phillies are lock and loaded with the talents of Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, and Roy Halladay. More than $255 million and the trading of 13 prospects, the starting rotation could be the Mount Rushmore of talent for the 2011 season.
“I understand you have to give up talent to get talent, but it’s a hard and difficult balance. Fortunately for us, we’ve done a good job of bringing in talent into the system so we can stay viable for the long-term.” says General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. in an interview with Major League Baseball.
Talent alone is not the only key to the success of this ball club but their endurance on the mound. In the 2010 season, all four hurlers pitched a combination of 110 five or more innings with Roy Halladay totaling 33.
In addition, the future Phillies staff rotation had a combined 25 complete games last year leaving little doubt that this lineup will outlast the head to head competition.
Stats alone from the 2010 season make this lineup a highly plausible Armageddon for the rest of the National League with each player ranked in the top 25 in league leading strikeouts with Roy Halladay at the helm. Their outstanding era’s of less than 3.20 shows little doubt that this staff culminates with a resume that spans two NLCS MVP awards and three Cy Young awards.
The clear and present danger for the Phillies staff would be from possible injuries. However the 2011 team’s true dilemma is their position in the lineup and naming a fifth starter. Manager Charlie Manuel has major decisions to make but one thing is certain is that their eyes on a 2011 World Series title.
“I’ve been close the past two years and haven’t gotten a ring” replies Cliff Lee in an interview with MLB.com. “That’s what it’s all about.”