Since the Philadelphia Phillies won the National League East in 2007, long-term hasn't been in the vocabulary of their fans. Anything less than a World Series win was considered a failure year after year, but it has come time to plan for the future.
Looking at the current Phillies roster, who can they be built around long-term?
Ryan Howard is 32 and has been almost invisible since his return from the DL in early July. Howard is under contract through 2016 with a club option including a $10 million buyout in 2017. He is a power bat in the middle of the Phillies lineup, but at this point in his career, he isn't a player that you build your team around.
Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins used to be considered centerpieces for the Phillies, but that is no longer the case. Utley can't seem to stay healthy for an entire season, and Rollins, although solid in the field, is not the type of hitter that can carry a team.
Fan favorite, Carlos Ruiz, is a free agent after the 2013 season and it is unlikely that the Phillies will re-sign him after that. Ruiz is currently 33 years old and having the best year of his career. The chances of him replicating these numbers (or anywhere near these numbers) is highly unlikely.
Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee are still aces, but as for long-term, let's just say they aren't going to be in Philadelphia after their contracts expire in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
The Phillies' long-term options may not be on their current roster.
By trading Joe Blanton, Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, the Phillies freed up some cap space for the offseason. Placido Polanco and Juan Pierre will be gone after this year, freeing up even more room to add pieces to build the franchise around.
These are five players, two currently on the roster, three who may be in the near future, who the Philadelphia Phillies can build their team around.