Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/2/12
A year ago, the Philadelphia Phillies wasted little time raiding the free agent market. In the first 17 days of free agency, the Phillies signed future Hall of Famer Jim Thome to solidify their bench and inked All-Star closer Jonathan Papelbon to the richest contract in baseball history for a relief pitcher. It remains to be seen if the Phillies act as fast this winter, but it might not be a terrible idea with multiple holes to fill and a top-heavy free agent class. After finishing in third place and out of the playoffs for the first time since 2006, the Phillies are expected to be a active as ever in an attempt to restore a championship-caliber roster before spring training. Despite a disappointing season, the Phils are confident they can return to prominence on the strength of a starting pitching staff that includes two former Cy Young Award winners (Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee) and a former World Series MVP (Cole Hamels). The health and production of Chase Utley and former MVPs Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins also will be crucial. But how the Phillies add to the pieces already in place could be the difference between whether the team bounces back or continues to regress. After trading Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino in July, the most pressing need comes in the outfield, where no single player on the current roster is a lock for a starting spot in 2013. Among the outfielders on the free agent market who could draw interest from the Phillies are Michael Bourn, Josh Hamilton, B.J. Upton, Angel Pagan, Melky Cabrera and Ryan Ludwick. With center field being a glaring need, a return of Victorino can't be completely ruled out either. At first glance, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said he wasn't exactly blown away by the outfield free agent class. "I think it's OK," Amaro said. "It's not fantastic, but I think there are people there that can help us. I think there may be some people on the trade market that may be better for us. The free agent market offensively overall is not fantastic, but that doesn't mean that we can't get better." Another area that almost certainly will be addressed is filling the void of a veteran setup man in front of Papelbon. The Phillies relied on aging and injury-plagued Jose Contreras and young but inconsistent left-hander Antonio Bastardo going into last season, and it did not work out. Among the veteran free agent relievers who could draw interest are Mike Adams, Jonathan Broxton, J.P. Howell and two former closers coming off Tommy John surgery: Ryan Madson and Joakim Soria.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Five most anticipated September MLB call-ups
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Lochte to be summoned to appear in Rio, charged with making false report

Carlos Ruiz traded to Dodgers

Ezekiel Elliott reportedly arrived at training camp overweight

Olympian auctions off medal to help young cancer patient

Report: Dodgers have turned down lowball offers for Puig

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jason Pierre-Paul’s lawsuit against Adam Schefter, ESPN will proceed

The Rock, Vin Diesel to settle 'rivalry' at WrestleMania 33?

Report: Browns trade former No. 6 overall pick Mingo to Pats

Harden organizing players-only minicamp with Rockets

Raiders file trademark applications for ‘Las Vegas Raiders’

U.S. Soccer hands Solo six month suspension for Olympic comments

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

A look at 2016 college football conference changes

The 20 best boxing movies ever

Will Perriman help Ravens find elusive WR success?

Jay Bouwmeester’s selection to Team Canada’s World Cup roster is a head-scratcher

Five MLB players with a lot to lose down the stretch

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for our favorite football movies

Bruce Arians on sideline video use: 'It helps bad coaches'

Hard not to be cynical about LeBron's 'Cleveland Hustles'

Familiar faces that won't be seen in the NFL this year

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 20 best boxing movies of all time

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

A look at 2016 college football conference changes

Can Perriman's return help Ravens find oft-elusive WR success?

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for our favorite football movies

Hard not to be cynical about LeBron James' 'Cleveland Hustles'

Ranking the uniforms of the NFL from worst to best

Familiar faces that won't be seen in the NFL this year

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker