Phillies fans and baseball experts knew what talent the Phillies had before the season started, which is why they were the pick by many to represent the National League in the World Series.
The starting rotation was loaded, the offense had some pop and would propel the Phillies to the playoffs once Chase Utley and Ryan Howard returned, and the bullpen was anchored by arguably the best closer in the league. It was a no-brainer picking the Phillies to win the National League East for the sixth straight year.
But, of course, the season didn't go according to plan. We all know the story, I don't need to go through it again.
Looking ahead to 2013, can the Phillies be threats in the East with the roster they have now? If Ruben Amaro, Jr. decided that he was going to hold on to all of his cash until next offseason, would the Phillies still be competitive in 2013?
Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee are crucial to the Phillies 2013 success. Both pitchers are Cy Young-caliber, but neither pitched anywhere near their potential this season. If those two can bounce back, then the entire pitching staff becomes a strong suit for the Phillies once again. With Halladay and Lee would be Cole Hamels, Vance Worley and Kyle Kendrick. If those five guys pitch to their potential, that could be one of the best rotations in baseball.
Carlos Ruiz will be back and healthy playing in a contract year next season. Ryan Howard and Chase Utley will be with the team from the start as well, and are both also capable of having bounce back years.
Jimmy Rollins needs to have a big 2013 season if he wants Philadelphia to stay on his side, which every player should want.
Rounding out the infield is Kevin Frandsen at third, since Placido Polanco will be gone to free agency. Frandsen has shown this season that he is capable of playing third for the Phillies.
Outfield would be the biggest concern for the 2013 Phillies. Domonic Brown, John Mayberry Jr. and Nate Schierholtz would be the starters, which would be very difficult to convince fans it's an acceptable outfield.
The bullpen would once again be an issue in 2013 if the Phillies didn't make any moves. Jonathan Papelbon will be back to shut the door in the ninth, but there still isn't a reliable player to maintain leads.
Josh Lindblom has been a disappointment since coming from the Dodgers, and everyone else has been just as bad. Michael Stutes will be back in 2013, so that is a small boost for one of the league's worst bullpens.
With their current roster, could the Phillies bounce back in 2013? Actually, yes.
But, to be fair, bounce back doesn't mean win 100 games. Bounce back doesn't even mean win 90 games.
With their current roster, the Phillies could win close to 90 games next year. The pitching will win games instead of lose games like it did this year. With a rotation like the Phillies have, they are absolutely contenders next year.
However, between 80-90 wins might not be good enough for a playoff spot, so Ruben Amaro should just play it safe and change the roster up a bit.
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