After finishing the 2012 season with a disappointing 81-81 record, the Phillies enter perhaps their most chaotic offseason in recent memory.
Are wholesale changes in order? Should they blow up the team and start over? Would pursing trades for Cliff Lee or any of their other high-priced veterans make sense?
Or should they write 2012 off as an aberration, a season lost to injuries and inconsistencies from those same high-priced veterans.
Logic tells us that blowing up the roster and starting over is impossible.
With a roster filled with nearly untradable contracts—Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jonathan Papelbon—there’s no reasonable way the Phillies can completely alter the course they’re on. The only thing they can do is try to tweak the roster, to make subtle changes that result in enough improvements to offset any failings of its older stars.
Unlike last winter, heading into this offseason the Phillies are fairly certain of what they are. With the exception of Roy Halladay and Domonic Brown, there aren’t many questions regarding what to expect from most players on the roster.
Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, cornerstones of the franchise, are unlikely to either play a full season or produce like they have in the past—ever again.
The Phillies need outfield help in a big way, and could use a miracle to solve the issue at third base.
Their starting rotation will continue to be a strength of the team. Catcher Carlos Ruiz is the one of the best in the business, and the team’s young bullpen got a lot of experience down the stretch last season.
All that being said, this is how I realistically envision the 2013 Phillies team panning out.