It's 8:34 a.m. and I am sitting in a U.S. Airways terminal staring out at a slate gray sky. Which can only mean one thing: baseball season is here. True, it won't officially be here for another couple of months. But pitchers and catchers report in 11 days, and I'm heading down to Florida a little early to catch some sunshine before everything kicks into gear. That said, expect the blog to start kicking into high gear now that we're less than two weeks out. We've got some good Phillies stuff coming up in the paper this week, and we'll definitely try to compliment it all here at High Cheese.
In the coming days we'll take a position-by-position look at the Spring Training roster while examining some questions that each unit has to answer over the next couple of months.
First, though, a couple of notes from today's paper:
1) I know there has been a lot of speculation on a national level about the Phillies zeroing in on free agent lefty Will Ohman. But right now I don't get the feeling that it is a likelihood. I caught up with Ruben Amaro Jr. last night and bounced the scenario off of him. While the Phils have are talking to Ohman's people, he said nothing is imminent. If the Phillies were to sign him, it would have to be for the right price. Reports out of Atlanta are that Ohman has a standing offer from the Braves. Keep in mind the Phillies already have $20.5 million locked up over the next two years in the back of their bullpen -- J.C. Romero ($4 mil), Ryan Madson ($4 mil) and Brad Lidge ($12.5 mil). They also are hoping to add a right-handed bat off the bench, and they are already staring at a payroll that is $25 to $30 million higher than last year. I'm sure they are talking to most of the lefties still available. But unless a guy like Ohman is willing to sign for less than he had originally planned, don't plan on seeing them in red pinstripes.
2) Nomar Garciaparra continues to be a wild card. The Phillies seem to think they have a good shot at landing him if he decides to keep playing baseball. But they still have no idea whether he wants to keep playing. Keep in mind there is a chance Garciaparra doesn't make his decision until well into spring training.
3) All is well on the Pedro Feliz front for the time being. The Phillies fully expect him to be ready for Opening Day. But they are also aware that backs are fickle things.