Friday, March 31, 2006

Madson and Floyd In; Franklin to the Pen

It has been more or less confirmed. Okay, it has been confirmed by the manager himself, but I know more than a few Phillies fans that still don't believe the news and won't until they see Ryan Franklin physically trot out of the bullpen for the first time. In any case, the decision to begin the season with Ryan Madson and Gavin Floyd in the starting rotation and Ryan Franklin in a relief role is the best move the Phillies new management team has made since they pulled off the Jim Thome trade with the White Sox.

Madson staying in the rotation is a no-brainer; it was the next logical step in his progression as a big league pitcher. Gavin Floyd making the team is complicated (to me anyway)...Phillies fans have followed his career closely since the time he was drafted, yet I don't think anybody can honestly say they know what to expect out of him this year. Making decisions based on spring stats can be a risky way of doing business - I hope the Phillies know what they are doing with Floyd. If he flops yet again...I'm not sure what the ramifications of that would be on his professional development. It is has well publicized that many of Floyd's struggles last season could be traced back to the lack of self-confidence that set in after he got beat down in the majors early on in the season (his own admission by the way). It is undeniably risky for Floyd to be on this team from a developmental standpoint, but it is a risk the Phillies were smart to take.

Another plus that has come out of this shuffling of pitchers has been my own personal increased likability of Ryan Franklin. I was skeptical of the signing from the start (who wasn't?) from not just a baseball perspective, but also a personality perspective (the whole steroid issue turned me off). Franklin's willingness to pitch out of the bullpen and positive attitude about the whole thing is a welcome change of pace from the typically me-first mantra of the modern athlete.

Though not an ideal situation, Franklin embraced the role of "seventh-inning closer."

"I was disappointed, but I'm more of a team guy," Franklin said. "I believe in myself that I can do well in any role. My arm has felt great the last three years. I really don't know how it's going to affect me. I just have to get back to how I prepare in the bullpen."

Franklin has four pitches he can throw for strikes, and doesn't plan to reduce his inventory for bullpen work. He concedes that he might throw harder since he can give his maximum effort each time out.

I'd say this whole thing worked out fairly well for everyone. Me especially.


Anonymous you know said...

couldn't agree more... hit the nail on the head there my friend. can't wait to see it with my own eyes now.

1:14 AM  
Anonymous braveswin said...

I picked up Madson and Floyd for my fantasy league, so I'm also glad to see this happen.

2:29 PM  
Blogger XXX said...

Good luck with the Madson and Floyd - I think you'll be quite pleased with Madson, but Floyd is a definite risk. I have Reitsma and McCann on my squad this year by the way.

4:59 PM  

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