Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
After last season, the Phillies know firsthand how detrimental injuries can be to a team’s chances at making the postseason.
This season may already be off to a shaky start, with Roy Halladay experiencing lethargy and decreased velocity, as Jim Salisbury wrote on CSNPhilly.com.
However, the Phillies are still faring better injury-wise this spring as compared to last, with players such as Chase Utley and Ryan Howard on schedule to be in the Opening Day lineup.
Halladay, Utley and Howard combined to miss 202 games while on the disabled list last season, with all but four of these games taking place prior to the All-Star break.
Remaining healthy is crucial for any team, but for the Phillies, with a core of players who are primarily age 33 or older, staying on the field is not a simple task.
If Philadelphia is to climb back to the top of the National League East, it must pass both the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves—two teams led by much younger cores.
The Phillies should be able to give certain players more rest this season without having to deal with a steep drop-off. This is especially true in the infield, with Kevin Frandsen and either Freddy Galvis or Yuniesky Betancourt available off the bench.
However, in other areas—particularly the front end of the starting rotation—the Phillies would be forced to either rush a minor leaguer to the major leagues or use a veteran who was initially signed for Triple-A depth as an injury replacement early in the season.
There’s no reason why Philadelphia's current roster can’t compete with the younger talent of the Nationals and Braves. In order to do so, however, the key players on the roster must remain healthy for a full season.