Though Hamels and Moyer performed well for the Phillies in 2006, Myers is the only member of the quintet who opened last season on the roster. Last season, an April rotation of Lieber, Myers, Cory Lidle, Ryan Madson and Gavin Floyd produced a 10-14 record and a 5.64 ERA, with Lieber's 0-4 mark and a 7.04 ERA being the worst.
Meanwhile, Moyer (Seattle), Eaton (Texas), Hamels (Class A Clearwater) and Garcia (White Sox) were rooming elsewhere. Now, they must mesh together and pitch deep into games consistently.
Remaining healthy is also going to be important for the group, as the Phillies dealt possible replacements in Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez, and may still part with Lieber. Eaton has never topped 200 innings in a season, and he missed half of last season with an injury to his right middle finger. Hamels stayed healthy in 2006, though he must maintain a program to keep his back sound.
Assuming good health, the Phillies love what they have.
"When you look at this rotation from a depth standpoint, it's very good," said Mike Arbuckle, the team's assistant GM, scouting and player development. "When you have good pitching, you're going to compete every day."
Despite not landing Alfonso Soriano, the Phillies return a potent lineup headed by National League MVP Ryan Howard, second baseman Chase Utley and shortstop Jimmy Rollins. Pat Burrell is coming off a poor year hitting with runners in scoring position, but he still collected 29 homers and nearly 100 RBIs.
Season in Preview
A lot can change by Opening Day, but as 2006 becomes 2007, this is who is projected to take the field for the Phillies:
| SS||Jimmy Rollins|
| RF||Shane Victorino|
| 2B||Chase Utley|
| 1B||Ryan Howard|
| LF||Pat Burrell|
| CF||Aaron Rowand|
| 3B||Wes Helms|
| C||Rod Barajas|
| SP||Freddy Garcia|
| SP||Brett Myers|
| SP||Cole Hamels|
| SP||Adam Eaton|
| SP||Jamie Moyer|
| CL||Tom Gordon|
The offense must continue to flourish to spare what could be a suspect bullpen that lacks a proven setup man. The Phillies will continue to search for a bridge from Geoff Geary and Ryan Madson to closer Tom Gordon. Ideally, that pitcher could close if necessary.
Offseason report card: Gillick upgraded the offensive production at third base by securing free agent Wes Helms, who will receive most of the playing time. He fared well in 2006 with the Marlins, batting .329 with 10 homers in 240 at-bats. Outfielder Jayson Werth also could provide a right-handed option with some power. With the rotation settled, the Phillies need to concentrate on finding a proven late-inning reliever, then secure a left-handed, late-inning pinch hitter.
Arrivals: RHP Garcia (trade), RHP Eaton (free agent), 1B/3B Helms (free agent), OF Werth (free agent), RHP Alfredo Simon (Rule 5 Draft), RHP James Warden (Rule 5 Draft), C Ryan Budde (Rule 5 Draft).
Departures: LHP Randy Wolf (free agent), C Mike Lieberthal (free agent), OF David Dellucci (free agent), LHP Aaron Fultz (free agent), RHP Floyd (trade), LHP Gonzalez (trade) , LHP Arthur Rhodes (free agent), INF Jose Hernandez (free agent), RHP Julio Santana (released).
The road ahead: Even though the club promises to be very young, and not overly experienced, the search for bargain-priced veterans will continue. The set-up role is up in the air, and the front office is looking to solidify the bullpen, and find a left-handed pinch hitter.