Phillies second basemen Chase Utley is set to have surgery on his hip sometime next week. While this may send many fans into a frenzy, I do not believe there is much reason to panic.
Last season, the Phillies had one of their best starts to a season in recent memory. In the beginning of the season, Utley had one of the best starts to a season a player can wish to have, leading the majors in home runs and RBI through mid-May.
The consensus seems to be that the Phils will now get off to a slow start, with Utley presumably not at full strength when the 2009 season begins.
However, before last season, the Phillies always got off to rough starts, something many fans have gotten used to this over time. It's nothing to worry about.
The team always start off slow and usually gets hot right around the All-Star break.
The key thing for the Phillies will be looking to be a buyer in this free-agency period. With starting left fielder Pat Burrell and veteran pitcher Jamie Moyer in the open market, the Phillies need to build.
So, for the fans, it might be back to the normal Phillies—start off the season slow, get hot, make a run at the N.L. East title, and then lose games to make it close.
Don't look for the Phillies to repeat next season, but look for them to shake things up a bit. While they will most likely not make the World Series again, they will make the postseason, perhaps as a wild card.