Something was missing last season.
The Philadelphia Phillies spent the following offseason trying to figure out what it was, adding a setup man, a fifth starter, a center fielder and a third baseman. On paper, is this a better team than the one that was listed for the 2012 campaign? It's close.
So what was the biggest difference for the Phillies between then and now? With optimism abound, at least some of those missing pieces must be in place.
The simple answer is that the return of aging, injured stars has given Phillies fans a reason to be optimistic. Players like Chase Utley, Roy Halladay and Ryan Howard have the potential to drastically alter the dynamic of a ball club.
Earlier this spring we took a look at ways to keep Utley healthy. Now we need to get to the bottom of why the Phillies can contend this spring, and that begins with early looks at reasons to be excited about a huge part of the club's payroll—Howard and Halladay.