Friday, February 5, 2016

Charlie and The Lineup Factory

After the front office added two new everyday players, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel takes a stab at the lineup.

Charlie and The Lineup Factory

Where should Jimmy Rollins bat in the lineup in 2013? (J Pat Carter/AP file photo)
Where should Jimmy Rollins bat in the lineup in 2013? (J Pat Carter/AP file photo)

The last time Charlie Manuel addressed the Phillies beat scribes, we were all in Nashville having lunch and the front office hadn't done a thing to improve the roster.

But just before Manuel and Co. boarded a plane bound for Philly on Thursday, Manuel knew there was a very good chance he had two new pieces for his starting lineup. The Phils traded for center fielder Ben Revere and were awaiting word for Michael Young to accept the third base job.

On Monday, with most of his starting nine accounted for, Manuel tried to take a stab at his 2013 batting order.

"You know, when I think about it, Michael Young, I can hit him quite a few places," Manuel began. "And in the year, two years, Ben has mostly hit second. But, you know what. I can sit here and go over lineups all I want to, but when it really gets down to it, who we have on the corners and in the outfield, that's what is going to dictate where our lineup falls. You can say whatever you want to, but if you're going to have production, as far as RBI and runs scored..."

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Like you, Manuel is waiting for the next move. And if history is any indication, there will be another move.

The Phils aren't going to run the foursome of Domonic Brown, Darin Ruf, Laynce Nix and John Mayberry Jr. into the final two spots in their outfield. After trying to fill one corner outfield spot with question marks in each of the last two seasons, there is no chance they go into 2013 with two question marks in the corners.

In 2011, the Phils hoped to replace departed free agent Jayson Werth with Domonic Brown. But Brown got hurt early in spring training, Ben Francisco struggled and the team eventually traded for Hunter Pence.

In 2012, the Phils hoped to replace departed free agent Raul Ibanez with John Mayberry Jr., who finished the previous season on a tear. But Mayberry never took hold of the job when the season began and was out-played by Juan Pierre, a limited veteran who played above the minor league contract he signed last winter.

The Phils could platoon one of those two spots in 2012 - say, Brown and Ruf in left. But they know they need a proven bat in the other spot, and after going cheap in center, they have money to spend, too.

Among the outfield bats still on the free agent market: Josh Hamilton, Nich Swisher and Cody Ross. 

Since Charlie won't entertain a lineup until all of the pieces are in place, here's one man's guess. (I'm sticking Carlos Ruiz in there since he will be back as the team's regular catcher following a 25-game suspension). 

1. Jimmy Rollins, SS

2. Michael Young, 3B

3. Chase Utley, 2B

4. Ryan Howard, 1B

5. Carlos Ruiz, C

6. Free Agent, RF

7. Darin Ruf/Domonic Brown, LF

8. Ben Revere, CF

9. Pitcher

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