Originally posted on Philly Sports World  |  Last updated 8/11/12

For the Phillies to be competitive in 2013, players like Ryan Howard will need to return to the form they showed a couple of years ago.

We’ve talked ad nauseam about the 2012 Phillies. What went wrong, who’s to blame and how to fix it have all been topics of much debate and coverage. Still there’s one question that remains unanswered – Can the Phillies compete in 2013?

I listened to Peter Gammons, who I respect greatly, say that by keeping Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay in tact as a unit, the Phillies will be competitive next year. While I don’t disagree, the fact remains that what Gammons said there is pretty much what everyone said going into 2012. I will grant you that Roy Halladay went down for two months and that losing one of the best pitchers in baseball is a real issue.

Having Ryan Howard and Chase Utley healthy for a full season would be a big help in 2013. But especially in the case of Chase Utley, it will still be a question mark. Jimmy Rollins production continues to dip and now there is an outfield full of questions to add to a bullpen full of questions. And the team will need a third baseman as well.

Dealing Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence and Joe Blanton will probably ensure the Phillies will stay under the Luxury Tax this season, but looking at the amount of holes left and the anemic amount of legitimate prospects who will be able to fill those holes, I have to think that Ruben Amaro will be signing a lot of checks to free agents in the offseason.

That is not necessarily the way to winning long term. People love to take pot shots at former GM Ed Wade, but when you look at it objectively, Wade believed in developing a farm system, and he did just that. That farm is the core of this team and has been throughout the heyday of the last several years.

That’s not to say that I don’t like Amaro’s all in philosophy of aggression, but it has taken a major toll on the Phillies farm and prospects. At some point, that has to stop. For a team to be successful long term, they need cheap, controllable talent. That is something the Phillies don’t have an abundance of.

If the Phillies continue to deal their prospects, there will come a time when that bill comes due. It did in the late ’80s and again in the late ’90s.

The Phillies can compete again in 2013, but they will need to do so with a roster that is vastly different than what we have seen over the past several years. They’ll also need aging players to play like they did a couple of years ago.  Roy Halladay has looked much more like the Doc we have come to expect, but Cliff Lee’s season has been a disaster.  He will need to right the ship, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley will need to return to form, and the team will need to rely on a bunch of new players, who can hopefully gel with the ones left here.

To me, there’s a lot of room for error.

Similar Posts:

  • The Cliff Lee Saga – Are the Phillies Contemplating Trading Him?
  • Halladay Returns to Form for Phillies
  • No Silver Lining for Phillies
  • Utley Could Be Back Wednesday; Howard In a Few Weeks
  • Phillies Could Move Victorino; Hamels by Deadline

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