Who Are These Guys? Meet Your 2013 Philadelphia Phillies

Who Are These Guys? Meet Your 2013 Philadelphia Phillies

With an estimated $159 million in payroll, the
Phillies have the third-most expensive ball club in Major League Baseball this
year. They also have 15 players who weren’t on the Opening Day roster in 2012,
whether it was because they were on the disabled list, in the minors, or
playing for another team at the time. In this primer we draw the curtain on the
25 players who made the club in ‘13, check in on some stats from spring
training, and even take a peek at who might be next in line.

Starting pitchers (5)

Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Kyle Kendrick, John Lannan, Cliff
Lee

Trending up? Think
Hamels is ready for to make the first Opening Day start of his big league
career? King Cole enjoyed his best spring ever, allowing two earned runs over
19 innings while opposing batters hit for a .172 average in Grapefruit League
action. He’s never been more comfortable, the contract situation taken care of,
his standing as the franchise ace cemented. What’s more, at 29 years of age it
appears Hamels’ best days are still ahead of him.

Trending down? Maybe
Halladay will be just fine, but you can probably forget about ever seeing the Doc
of old again. His decline began right on time last year, while this spring
brought with it more questions than answers. The Phils will be fine as long as
Roy is healthy and his stuff effective enough to keep them close in a majority of
his starts. However, despite Kyle Kendrick’s steady improvement, they might be
in trouble if KK winds up being the staff’s true number three.

Up their sleeve:
Tyler Cloyd got the call late last season, although he isn’t generally considered
one of the organization’s top prospects. Right-handers Jonathan Pettibone and
Ethan Martin – ranked four and six in the Phillies’ system according to
Baseball America – are also on the 40-man roster. Whichever one of the three is
performing the best could find themselves in the show in the event of an
injury, or possibly even if the back end of the rotation were to struggle.

Outlook: Doc is
the key. Unless Kendrick can continue to build on his strong finish to 2012 (7-3,
2.43 over final 10 starts), the starting pitching is only as sound as Halladay
is.

Relievers (7)

Mike Adams,
Phillippe Aumont, Antonio Bastardo, Chad Durbin, Jeremy Horst, Jonathan Papelbon Raul Valdes

All set(up): Last season the Phillies lost 12
games in which they took a lead into the eighth inning. Had they won even
two-thirds of those, the Fightins would have been in the playoffs. Well, that
shouldn’t be a problem anymore. Setup man extraordinaire Mike Adams was signed
in the offseason to plug that leak, and he looks poised to deliver. Adams
allowed only four hits and one run in nine innings of work this spring, so it
should be safe to say fewer games will be slipping away.

Cliff finally produces: When Aumont got the call this past
August, he became the first prospect from the Cliff Lee trade to Seattle to reach
the show. So far the hard-throwing righty is panning out nicely, entering his first
full season in the bigs coming off one of the best springs in Philly’s bullpen.
Of their seven relievers, only Adams had better than Aumont’s 3.24 ERA, who
also struck out seven over 8.1 frames. If anything should happen to Adams or
Papelbon, this 24 year old might have the stuff to fill their roles.

Outlook: There’s a good chance the bullpen
transforms from weakness into strength. They can’t be any worse than 2012, that’s
for sure.

Catchers (2)

Erik Kratz,
Humberto Quintero

Help is on the way: Kratz and Quintero only have to hold
down the fort for about a month or so until Carlos Ruiz can return from his
25-game suspension. Think about it as a short stint on the disabled list. Kratz
looked more than capable of filling in for Chooch when he was hurting last summer,
so the Fightins should be fine until May. Question is which Ruiz returns: the
power-hitting catcher from 2012, or the meek bat with no extra base hits in 26
at bats this Spring?

Outlook: Chooch will be fine. Kratz is
adequate until then.

Infielders (6)

Kevin
Frandsen, Freddy Galvis, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Michael Young

Healthy as a horse: It was probably nothing short of
delusional to take playoff expectations for the Phillies into 2012 when they
were without the two biggest horses in their lineup for half the season. Both Utley
and Howard returned for spring training looking healthy and rejuvenated, combining
to appear in 52 Grapefruit games and bashing 12 home runs. Howard also posted a
.322 average. Make no mistake, their presence is a game changer.

Stopgap at third: There was a surprising amount of
backlash to the Michael Young acquisition, but even if the 36 year old puts up
2012 numbers, he’s an upgrade over what the Phils had at third base. The
seven-time All Star hasn’t looked too bad protecting Howard, driving in 16 RBI
this spring. Defense might be the biggest concern, but Young made some nice
plays over at the hot corner as well. Either way it’s likely just a one-year
rental, and a damn good one if he can hit .300 again.

Outlook: The core may be getting up there in
age, but these guys are All Stars and MVPs. There should be enough pop left in
this group to make a run.

Outfielders (5)

Domonic
Brown, Ender Inciarte, John Mayberry Jr., Laynce Nix, Ben Revere

Springing into action: Would the real Dom Brown please stand
up? Once considered one of the top prospects in baseball, there were plenty of folks
who were ready to give up on the 25 year old even though he’s had the
equivalent of a season’s worth of at bats in the Majors. Dom has been on a tear
this spring though, leading the Phillies in hits and runs while also tying for
the clubhouse lead in homers and RBI. He solidified his spot, but will success follow
him into the regular season?

Ben Revere’s ride: Will Jimmy Rollins finally get
overtaken for the leadoff spot? If anybody is going to do it, this is the guy.
Revere may not hit home runs ever (seriously, ever), he showed what he brings
to the table this spring, getting on base then wreaking havoc. He was second to
Brown in hits with 29, posted a .368 OBP, plus stole 10 bags. If J-Roll is
hitting number two all season as he will on Opening Day, there’s a good chance he could be driving Revere home with
some frequency.

The season is Young: It remains to be seen how much help
Delmon Young will provide this year. He starts the season on the disabled list
after undergoing microfracture surgery on his ankle over the winter, and will
have to find his groove without the benefit of a full spring training. As
unpopular as the 2012 ALCS MVP is, Young is a right-handed bat with the
potential to hit 20 bombs, which can definitely be an asset. The only question is
whose roster spot will he take once he is ready?

Ruf time of it: There were high hopes for Darin Ruf
to make the roster this year, but he didn’t have the impact the team was
hoping. Ruf hit .246 with just two home runs this spring, and perhaps more to
his detriment was some spotty play out in left field to put it kindly.
Clearwater this time of year can be a tough place to learn the position. Either
way, he just wasn’t ready. That said, we probably haven’t heard the last of “Babe”
Ruf in 2013.

Outlook: There’s a lot riding on Brown to
finally live up to his billing this year. If he’s up to the task, this group of
outfielders can make the leap from ordinary to mighty.

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NHL Notes: Predators' P.K. Subban rides whirlwind to Stanley Cup Final

NHL Notes: Predators' P.K. Subban rides whirlwind to Stanley Cup Final

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It has been an extraordinary 11 months for P.K. Subban.

The defenseman moved from the Eastern Conference to the Western Conference. Left his native Canada to live in the American South. Blended in with new teammates, created a new home and learned a new system of money, too.

Oh, and along the way the former star for the Montreal Canadiens played a key role in Nashville's stirring run to the Stanley Cup Final.

The best way to sum up Subban's approach? C'est la vie.

"I just tried to have the right attitude when change comes my way," Subban said. "I think when you have an open mind, an open mind is like a gold mine. You just have an open mind, you can only go up from there regardless of what comes your way and just always try to approach things in a positive way."

The Canadiens and Predators shocked the NHL last June 29 when Nashville swapped captain Shea Weber for Subban in a rare one-for-one trade of All-Star defensemen. Adding Subban's offensive skills immediately made the Predators a popular pick to be right where they are now as the Western Conference champions.

The stylish Subban has as much flair on the ice with his goal celebrations as off with his hats and stylish suits. The Predators and their fans have embraced all of it.

"When it happened, I came in here with the right attitude and just wanted to be a part of this team and do whatever I can do to help a team win," Subban said (see full story).

Penguins: Team rides maturity, resilience back to Cup Final
PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Chris Kunitz stood shoulder to shoulder at center ice as midnight approached, crowd on its feet, Prince of Wales Trophy in hand. Another shot at the Stanley Cup in the offing.

On the surface, it could have been a scene ripped from 2008 when the longtime Pittsburgh Penguin teammates earned their first crack at a championship together, the one that was supposed to be the launching pad for a dynasty.

A closer look at the weary, grateful smiles told a different story.

This team has learned over the last decade that nothing can be taken for granted. Not their individual greatness or postseason success, even for one of the NHL's marquee franchises. Not the cohesion it takes to survive the crucible of the most draining championship chase in professional team sports or the mental toughness (along with a dash of luck) needed to stay on top once you get there.

So Crosby paused in the giddy aftermath of Pittsburgh's 3-2 victory over Ottawa in Game 7 of the helter-skelter Eastern Conference finals to do something the two-time Hart Trophy winner almost never does. He took stock of the moment, aware of how fleeting they can be.

"Every series you look at, the margin for error is so slim," Crosby said. "We've just continued to find ways and different guys have stepped up. We trust in that and we believe in that and whoever has come in the lineup has done a great job. That builds confidence. We've done it different ways, which is probably our biggest strength" (see full story).

NFL Notes: Vikings' Mike Zimmer says he'll coach with 1 eye if necessary

NFL Notes: Vikings' Mike Zimmer says he'll coach with 1 eye if necessary

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has had a lot of time on his hands this week while sitting at home on his Kentucky ranch as his team went through optional practices in the Twin Cities.

Zimmer was under strict orders to leave the team and rest his right eye, which has needed eight surgeries to try to repair a detached retina. The lingering issues have led some to wonder if he would be forced to shorten his career.

Zimmer has heard the speculation all week long. The hard-nosed coach said he has reached out to some of those doubters personally this week.

"I'll be back shortly," Zimmer vowed in a conference call with reporters on Friday. "One eye or two, it doesn't matter. I'll be back. We can put that retiring thing to bed quickly."

Zimmer missed one game last season due to the problems with his eye . He tried to work through the issues, but said on Friday that he was told to skip this week's practices and go home to allow his eye to recover.

"It's not much fun," he said. "Usually I love it down here in my place here. But I don't love it too much this week. It was kind of a forced situation. But for the long run it's the best thing for me."

Giants: Smith trying to resurrect career
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Geno Smith didn't catch a break in his final two seasons with the New York Jets, and it seems his chances of resurrecting his career with the Giants are facing obstacles.

Not only does Smith have to beat out incumbent Josh Johnson for the backup quarterback job to Eli Manning, his prospects of making the team took another hit in the NFL draft when the Giants selected Davis Webb with their third-round draft pick.

The 26-year-old Smith doesn't seem concerned.

Speaking after the Giants organized training activities Thursday, Smith sounded confident for a player who had a promising rookie season four years ago and then regressed, in large part due to inconsistency.

"Honestly, I don't feel like I have to prove anything to anyone other than myself," said Smith, who has played in only three games in the past two seasons, starting one. "I am just trying to be my best every single day, focusing on trying to be perfect. I know that is a far goal to try and reach, but just trying to be perfect every day and understanding what is required of me once I step onto the field, and then trying to get it done."

Redskins: Injured Moreau final draft pick to sign
ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins have signed the final member of their 10-player draft class, third-round pick Fabian Moreau.

The team announced the deal Friday.

The cornerback out of UCLA tore a pectoral muscle at his pro day in March. He was projected to be a first- or second-round pick before the injury and went 81st overall to the Redskins.

Moreau says doctors told him it was a five-month recovery, putting him on track to be ready by late in the preseason. The 23-year-old was at Washington's practice facility for rookie minicamp and the first sessions of organized team activities.

Coach Jay Gruden says the team is playing by ear the injury situations of Moreau and fourth-round pick Montae Nicholson and hopes they learn the schemes for the secondary as they rehab.

NFL: Judge tosses lawsuit over cheerleader wages
SAN FRANCISCO -- A lawsuit accusing the NFL and team owners of conspiring to suppress wages for cheerleaders lacks evidence to support that claim, a federal judge said.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup dismissed the lawsuit by a former San Francisco 49ers cheerleader. The suit sought class action status on behalf of all NFL cheerleaders.

"To state an antitrust claim here, plaintiff must plead not only `ultimate facts, such as conspiracy, and legal conclusions,'" Alsup said. "The complaint must answer the basic questions of `who, did what, to whom (or with whom), where, and when?'"

An email to an attorney for the 49ers cheerleader, Drexel Bradshaw, was not immediately returned. The cheerleader was only identified in the suit as "Kelsey K."

Alsup gave her an opportunity to amend the lawsuit and refile it by June 15.

The lawsuit was among a spate of legal actions in recent years accusing NFL teams of failing to pay cheerleaders for hours they spent practicing and making public appearances.