|He should be good, right? Photo by Richard Wilkins Jr.|
So we're at the end of 2013, mercifully for Phillies fans. We had to put up with a second straight dud of a team, and now a nearly universally panned off-season. In a little over a month, some players will start showing up in Clearwater, and baseball will be at hand. So the question is, who's going to be there.
Let's start with the rotation, which just a few years ago was dominating. Now? Well, here's the MLB rotation right now:
- Cliff Lee
- Cole Hamels
- Miguel Gonzalez
- Kyle Kendrick
- Roberto Hernandez
Which takes me to the IronPigs rotation, and what I'm guessing it will look like this year. The IronPigs recently picked up two solid veteran AAA arms that could help. Greg Smith was outstanding for the Pigs in their stretch run, pitching to a 2.68 ERA after being picked up in June. Chris Bootcheck went 10-7 with a 3.69 ERA last season in Scranton. Right now I see Pettibone, Morgan, Smith, and Bootcheck making up 80% of the Pigs rotation in 2014. That leaves one basic debate, one that I would approach with caution- where should Jesse Biddle start. My vote is for Reading, back in AA, because his control issues alarm me. A guy with his caliber of arm should not fear throwing strikes. That just has to stop. My guess right now is that David Buchanan, who threw well in Allentown, is the front-runner for the #5 job, as is. Don't rule out Cesar Jimenez either, or if any of the Cochran-Miner types out there get invited to camp, they could make it.
None of this is overly exciting to Phillies fans, as they know that if Smith is taking starts in 2014, they probably aren't going to the playoffs. Come to think of it, the odds aren't that great anyway…