November 05, 2009
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel might have been conflating the top line from "Terminator" with a famous quote from World War II superstar general Douglas MacArthur, but his point was clear:
This isn't the last we'll see of his Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series.
"I'm gonna tell you something. We will be back," Manuel said. "As MacArthur said, I guess, we will be back."
MacArthur might have been talking about retaking the Philippines from Japan, but Gen. Manuel probably means it just as much as ol' corn cob pipe (right) did. These have been two amazing seasons put together by the Phillies, who have proven just by getting back to the World Series that success doesn't have to be fleeting.
General manager Ruben Amaro has some issues to address, because if the World Series against the Yankees showed anything, it's how flawed two teams playing for a championship can be. But the Phillies can visit the World Series again next season, and win, if they follow through on these three simple steps:
1. Sign John Lackey(notes). This is pretty straightforward. He doesn't have all that many miles on him. Has postseason experience. Doesn't lack colefidence, um, confidence. Lackey and Cliff Lee(notes) give you guys you can count on. Joe Blanton(notes), too, if you're not going to count on him too much. The rest of the rotation — J.A. Happ(notes), Jamie Moyer(notes), Marty Bystrom — will sort itself out.
2. Sign Mark DeRosa(notes) to play third base and buy out Pedro Feliz(notes). Actually, Chone Figgins(notes) would be better (Jimmy Rollins(notes) isn't a leadoff hitter) but where's all the cash going to come from? What, are the Phills made of money, or something? Anyway, DeRosa has a habit of making the playoffs (six times in 10 seasons) and, if his hand injury is healed, he will fit like a Lego in a Legoland.
3. Take your best guess with Brad Lidge(notes). Relief pitchers are like the content of a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get. The Phillies bullpen was pretty much a disaster in the World Series, but relievers are so flighty, it's hard to say what Amaro should do. If he leaves them all alone, maybe they come back like 2008. Maybe he changes them around and none of them work out. He just needs to make sure the closer is sound, no matter who it is. It all flows from there, as Mariano Rivera(notes) demonstrated.