CHERRY HILL, N.J. -- Before the end of the month, Larry Andersen and Scott Franzke will be back on 94 WIP-FM, broadcasting Grapefruit League games from Florida.They were together again Friday night at the Crowne Plaza, where the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association presented them the Bill Campbell Award for excellence
CHERRY HILL, N.J. -- Before the end of the month, Larry Andersen and Scott Franzke will be back on 94 WIP-FM, broadcasting Grapefruit League games from Florida.
They were together again Friday night at the Crowne Plaza, where the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association presented them the Bill Campbell Award for excellence in broadcast media. Beforehand, the duo chatted about Spring Training and expectations for the season.
MLB.com: Who are you looking forward to seeing in camp? (Andersen has a unique perspective because he will be a guest instructor, working with Phillies pitchers.)
Andersen: All of them. [Zach] Eflin with good knees. He's thrilled about how he feels. [Aaron] Nola. He said he's 100 percent. Those two guys being healthy is huge. I haven't seen [Clay] Buchholz in person, but if you get a healthy Buchholz, he can dominate. He can dominate a game. I think that's going to help the young guys, taking pressure off them. I'm excited to see [Jerad] Eickhoff as much as anybody. See if he can duplicate and add on from what he did last year. I don't see any reason he can't.
Franzke: I think a lot rides on Nola and Eflin, in terms of the overall development of the rotation. To see whether or not they're healthy. I know they say they are. Honestly, for me, I want to see where [Maikel] Franco goes. I want to see where [Freddy] Galvis goes. They're not without faults, but I think they showed enough last year to suggest they might be something worth building around. They're young, especially Maikel. If you compare his numbers to guys of similar age and experience, I think they stack up pretty well. I'm intrigued whether the theory of getting some veteran help to take the pressure off really helps. It's not just taking pressure off. It's guys like Franco handling the pressure. There's still going to be pressure because he's still going to be a fourth or fifth-place hitter.
MLB.com: Can the Phillies be a .500 team?
Andersen: I think it's more realistic if it was this year's team against last year's division. Atlanta, Miami, Washington -- they all got significantly better to me. Having said that, we have to be significantly better. I really was hoping for .500. That's what I'm being optimistic about. There's no question that they could. There's a possibility, and maybe be even better. But it's going to come down to these young pitchers, if they can improve with the experience they got last year.
MLB.com: Who's going to close? Hector Neris has the best stuff, but Jeanmar Gomez will be in the mix.
Andersen: Hector's stuff is tough to deny. He's got closer stuff. Jeanmar has closer command, but that's not the same as closer stuff. That's not a knock. Everybody has limits. I would look at Hector Neris being the closer, personally.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.