State of the Phillies

In the paper today, we have a story on Phillies president David Montgomery, born and raised in Roxborough and currently entering his 39th season as a member of the organization. There has been a lot of focus this offseason on the team's World Series title, as well as their suddenly-robust payroll (expected to be around $132 million this season). But I was curious to get his vision on the franchise's future moving forward, and his philosophy on maintaining success. Of the seven organizations who have won World Series since 2000, six of them have dipped below .500 within three seasons of winning their title. The Cardinals did it the year after thier title, the Angels and White Sox did it two years after their title, and the Diamondbacks and Marlins did it the third season after their title.

One thing is clear: the Phillies payroll likely won't climb much higher than $130 million in future seasons. Montgomery said the team is already generating as much revenue as it can expect to generate, which means its payroll has likely climbed as high as it can climb. In short, they'll never reach New York Yankees levels of spending, which means the emphasis will be on producing another crop of regulars who are ready to take over when the inevitable departure of players begins in a few years. The Boston Red Sox have had a lot of success in this area. While they are known as a big-spending club willing to throw dollars at a J.D. Drew or a Daisuke Matsuzaka, keep in mind that neither Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury or Jonathan Papelbon was a member of the team when they won in 2004, but were all key contributors when they won it again a couple of years ago.

Here's the story. . .

1) Charlie Manuel didn't sound entirely confident when asked if Pedro Feliz would be ready by Opening Day. That said, Feliz did say he thinks he'll be in there. But the fact of the matter is, Feliz is behind schedule. He is currently in the 13th-week of a rehab that was supposed to take a maximum of 12 weeks. It probably isn't a coincidence that the Phillies seem to be adding experienced major league infielders by the bucketful (most lately, Miguel Cairo). It's too early to be alarmed. But it is certainly a situation worth monitoring.

2) I didn't get this chart into the paper yesterday, but one would think that a healthy back would help Pedro Feliz's power numbers improve from one of the worst seasons in his career. Though his batting average (.249) was only three points below his career average and his on base percentage (.302) was the second-highest of his career, Feliz's home run production and slugging percentage were abysmal. Maybe the back had something to do with it. Maybe playing in a new park had something to do with it. Anyway, here are Feliz averaged a home run every 30.4 at-bats, by far the worst mark since he hit two home runs in 146 at-bats in 2002. Here his at-bats per home run year by year: 2007 - 27.85; 2006 - 27.4; 2005 - 28.45; 2004 - 14.7

3) The first official full squad workout is today.

More later.