The Philadelphia Phillies are now a little more than 2 weeks away from Pitchers and Catchers. That’s right, even though snow is covering most of the Delaware Valley today, baseball is around the corner.
For the first time in a long time, the Phillies will not enter the season as the National League favorites. They aren’t even the favorites in their own division at this point. While the team added a number of pieces in the offseason, none of them seem to instill the kind of confidence that moves over the past few seasons have. Roy Halladay or John Lannan? You be the judge.
With all of that being said, the Phillies still could wind up being a good team. Instead of being able to base that opinion on solid ground and rosters like the Nationals and Braves can do right now, the Phillies can only make that claim based on hope and a wing and a prayer.
Additions like Michael Young could very well bolster the Phillies lacking offense of last year. Delmon Young has the kind of power that the Phillies were looking for nearly this entire offseason. Both of these acquisitions come with upside, but they both also come with a lot of questions about their play in the field. So whatever they may contribute at the plate, could be negated by their performance in the field.
Additionally, the Phillies will once again rely on the health and production of stars Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Roy Halladay. While the Phillies bank on those stars putting their health issues behind them, the truth is those three are also huge question marks.
The outfield is a question too. The only position that seems to have any stability is center field where the newly acquired Ben Revere will roam. Revere is young and affordable, and while he can fly like the wind and will bring gold glove like defense, his lack of power at the plate and his lack of a track record in the majors will be cause for some for concern. The rest of it is a complete crapshoot. Laynce Nix, Delmon Young, John Mayberry Jr., Darin Ruf and Domonic Brown will battle it out for left and right field. Not one proven every day player in the lot.
You can say that the Phillies shored up their bullpen by adding veteran eighth inning set up man Mike Adams. That move could have been the Phillies finest of the offseason. And it still has its risks as Adams comes off of surgery.
While the Phillies used to be an exclamation point in the talks of World Series contenders, they have now become a question mark. A huge one at that. If the chips fall into place, the Phillies could compete. But if one or two of the players that the Phillies are counting on wind up injured or continue to not produce at their former levels, 2013 could tumble down like a house of cards.
And then what? Could this be the Phillies last chance?
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