The last few weeks have been brutal for any Phillies phan. It has to start looking ahead at the future of this ball club. While I have been very critical of Ruben over the last few months/years, I don't envy the position he is in. The best thing for this team may be a rebuild but the expectations that come with this team may not allow that to happen. He is being forced to put bandaids on each year and hope the team can get some lucky breaks.
How the mighty have fallen! It wasn't long ago that we were bragging about our aces and not only boasted the best rotation in the game, but one of the best in the history of the game. In 2011, the Phillies ranked 1st in baseball when there starters posted a minuscule 2.86 ERA. Last year they dropped to 10th with a 3.82 ERA and this year has gotten worse as they are currently 21st with a 4.23 ERA. This team has a lot of question marks and the roation is one of them. While there may be quesiton marks, the Phillies do have some options.
Cole Hamels: There really isn't even any need to discuss this. Despite some stuggles this season, Cole has a better chance to be the Sixers coach as he does pitching for another team next season.
Cliff Lee: Any time your name is Cliff Lee, there is a chance you may be traded. But I think that Ruben has had ample chances to trade him over the last 2 seasons and didn't pull the trigger. So I would be very suprised if he traded Clifton during the offseason.
In House Options: VETS
Kyle Kendrick: Earlier today, CSNPhilly.com took a look at the chances KK will reutrn next season. After a hot start, KK has shown what he really is and that's nothing more than a back of the rotation pitcher. This isn't a knock agasinst Kendrick because every team needs innings eaters. But it comes down to if he is really worth 7 or 8 million in arbitration or 6-7 a year on a multi-year deal? Right now, I'm leaning towards non-tendering KK.
John Lannan: Lannan was non-tendered by the Nats last year and could be facing that fate once again this year. His 4.10 ERA is actually better than Kendricks 4.36 ERA this season. Lannan made just $2 Million this season compared to Kendricks $4.5 million and would likely be a cheaper option if the 2 went to arbitration.
In House Options: Young Guns
Jonathan Pettibone: While he is currently on the DL, Pettibone has been a solid for the Phillie this season. He is 5-4 with a 4.04 ERA and is just 23. He may not be a future ace, but he is a quality back end pitcher and maybe more important he figures to make around $500,000 next season.
Tyler Cloyd: Let me be the first to say, that I am not the biggest Tyler Cloyd fan. A guy with velocity can not afford to walk the guys he does. I see Cloyd as no more than a 6th starter/Organizational Depth who can fill in for a few starts in case of injury
Ethan Martin: He may have the best pure stuff have any young pitcher in the organization as his fastball hits 96-97 MPH. But the 24 year old former 15th overall pick has never lived up to the expectations. He had a ERA over 4 in his 137 minor league games. Does he have the stuff to get hitters out in the majors? Yes, but he will have to prove he can get the job done before I would hand him a spot.
Adam Morgan: Morgan jumped onto the prospect radar after an impressive 2012 season between Clearwater and Reading. This season has not gone as planned as he has dealt with some serious shoulder problems. Fortunately for the Phillies and Morgan surgery was avoided and he has returned to the mount this season. With the shoulder problem hopefully behind he has looked solid in his 4 starts for the Pigs as he has given up just 3 ER in 16.2 innings. Coming into the season, Morgan was seen by some to be on the same level as Biddle and should fight for a roster spot in the spring.
Roy Halladay: Doc is still recovering form shoulder surgery but looks to be getting close to a rehab assignment. He is set to become a FA at the end of the season and will likely have to settle for a 1 year deal even with a few solid starts in September. Based on his apolgy to the fans after the injury, I could see Doc coming back very very cheaply on a incentive laden one year deal.
Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez: The Phillies had reportedly agreed to terms with 26 year old Cuban defector. But we have learned over the last day or so that it may have hitten a snag. Most say he is MLB ready and the Phillies do sign him, he figures to be locked into the roation.
That leaves 10 potential candidates fighting for 5 spots. There are still a lot of questions that need to be answered by October. Will the Phillies sign Gonzalez? Will Doc regain some of his previous form? Will Martin's stuff finally translate to success? Are Morgan's shoulder problems behind him? Hamels and Lee are locked in, but there are a lot of things that simply need to be worked out over the next few months.