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Position players report: How does the lineup measure up?

The Phillies begin their first spring training without Jimmy Rollins in over a decadeGetty Images

Everything has to go right and then some for this to be a positive season for this collective.

First Base

Ryne Sandberg nailed it by noting that it’s Ryan Howard’s job to lose. First off, there is no otherreal option. It’s obvious the organization doesn’t believe in Darin Ruf. There’s no point starting the season with Maikel Franco, who is an excellent third baseman, at first, when he could use more time in the minors.

If you’re going to pay Howard, let the Big Piece swing away. No team will eat even a portion of his contract. Just hope that Howard is healthy and that he views this as a season in which he can prove everyone wrong and then the Phillies can possibly trade him in July.

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Second Base

Give Chase Utley a break, literally. The aging former superstar started 155 games last season. No wonder he’s worn down. If the Phillies can trust a sub and let Utley start 130 games, there could be some serious production from the lone member of the old core, who appears to be a lock to stay.

Shortstop

Phillies fans will certainly miss Jimmy Rollins’ bat. If you had issues with Rollins batting average, just wait for Freddy Galvis, who has a superb glove is superb is a liability at the plate.

Third Base

Expect Cody Asche to have half of a season to show signs of life, both defensively and offensively, at the hot corner. But it’s only a matter of time until Maikel Franco plays third for the big club.

Rightfield

Let Domonic Brown have a full season in right. There’s no young phenom , who is screaming to be called up. Brown played a better right than left. He has a gun for an arm but his routes are awful and he makes questionable decisions. Perhaps Charlie Manuel can once again help Brown produce at the plate.

Centerfield

If this team had some pop, Ben Revere would be a nice piece. Revere isn’t the problem. He hits for average, steals bases and is a good clubhouse guy. Sure, Revere needs to play a better center. If Revere can run better routes, there’s hope for the speedster, who will have to pick it up considering, who is flanking him.

Leftfield

Grady Sizemore played decently during his second half stretch He could be moderately productive. It’s too bad the Phillies didn’t play Ruf every day after August 1 when post-season hopes were all but mathematically over. Could Ruf, who is one of the few Phillies who can work a count, be an everyday player? We may never know.

 
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