The Cole Hamels trade rumors are being repackaged for another go-around with the Rangers, which likely means that "[entire paragraphs of stream-of-conscious hypotheticals], but the two teams aren't close to anything."
So let's pull ourselves away from that epic and consider the offense for a moment. Ryne Sandberg certainly has, making his intent clear as we watched bunt after bunt this spring.
Todd Zolecki pointed out that Ben Revere, Dom Brown, Grady Sizemore, and Darin Ruf combined for just 20 home runs last year; this spring, that band of weary travelers is hitting .168 with a .206 SLG and only Darin Ruf's home run to speak of; when Brown did hit one he managed to do it in the one half inning of spring training baseball that actually, literally did not count.
Brown has been working with Mike Schmidt, and Pat Gillick has cited Brown's recent 20-home run season as an unarguable fact that he is apparently capable of power of that magnitude, but then he sort of trailed off and stared up at a flock of geese returning home for the spring. The truth is, there won't be a lot of home runs from the Phillies this year, and Ryne Sandberg's plan to get around that by bunting and stealing and getting cute on the base paths is debatable, but not by Ruben Amaro:
"We're not going to score a lot of runs. We've been saying that. We'll have to scratch them. We're not going to scare anybody with our power, but that doesn't mean we can't score runs. We're going to have to manufacture them. We're going to have to do it with our legs. We're going to have to do it with our brains and aggressiveness."
It'd be pretty crazy if the Phillies went all season without scoring any runs, so odds are pretty good that will actually happen at some point. Remember last year, when they came out the gate and scored 14 runs against the Rangers on opening day? That was insane.
The Phillies are 9-for-13 on the base paths this spring, and they have some fast legs with Revere in the lineup and some fresh legs with Odubel Herrera around somewhere. With sacrifice bunts, Revere leads the team with three of their total of eight. Cesar Hernandez has successfully laid down two.
This is already far more than the number of sacrifice bunts the Phillies attempted throughout all of last preseason, which is four, all by players who don't play for the team anymore. As far as stolen bases go, they swiped 16, with Revere nabbing six.
And the results are in! The Phillies touched 321 bases total last March and scored 102 runs, and this year have already stepped on 217 bases with 77 runs of sweet, sweet small balled offense to show for themselves. Technically they're on pace to outdo themselves in both columns by the end of the pre-season, but they're obviously not using a consistent lineup and sometimes they're splitting the team in half to play two separate games, so those results aren't super helpful. In fact, any sort of conclusion drawn with weeks still left in spring training can be simply debunked.
Small ball is here, and it will remain the somehow-even-less-fun version of the sport the Phillies play until Sandberg and Amaro grow tired of it. Or maybe the Phillies will wise up and put break-out power threat Brian Bogusevic in the outfield, solving every problem.