Player Projection: Jon Lieber

There hasn't been any official announcement yet as to who the Phillies will have on the mound for Opening Day. It figures to be Jon Lieber, although Brett Myers has certainly made a case for getting the starting nod.

Jon Lieber figures to be the Phillies' starting pitcher on Opening Day. He also figures to have a personal catcher again this season, even though his first choice was to have Todd Pratt. Sal Fasano has done most of the catching when Lieber has been on the mound this spring and figures to be behind the plate when he pitches this season, although Mike Lieberthal would likely get the start on Opening Day.

Lieber is a battler, who pitched well late last season. He's been an innings eater throughout his career and is signed through 2007 at a reasonable rate. One consideration could be that if the Phillies are fading at the trade deadline, Lieber would be an attractive addition for a playoff bound team. Plus, with the Phillies having young pitchers looking for a spot in the rotation, Lieber could be expendable. In fact, even if the Phillies are in the hunt, if Cole Hamels or one of the other young pitchers are throwing lights out at AAA, Lieber could be moved to help fill another hole. Keep that in mind this season.

There is no reason to believe that Jon Lieber will suffer much of any setback in 2006. He's a veteran pitcher and figures to again be at or near the top of the starters in most stats and he won't easily give up his ace title to Myers or anybody else.

Projections for 2006

16 12 4.23 32 32 200.0 204 99 94 28 39 135

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