Six members of the Philadelphia Phillies 2008 World Series team are on the current roster. It’s difficult to say if Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Carlos Ruiz and Kyle Kendrick represent a core that’s deep enough to propel the 2013 red pinstriped crew into the playoffs. But, the potential that their remaining 2012 teammates possess and some smart new additions all make the coming season intriguing.
General manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. decided to play a version of Pat Gillick payroll small-ball this off-season. In contrast to past year’s big-ticket purchases, the Phillies’ current front office boss has made numerous cost-effective moves since October.
Former Minnesota Twins‘ outfielder Ben Revere is a poor man’s Juan Pierre at the plate. An emerging Phillies’ fan fad next summer will surely involve social media sharing of the 24-year-old’s spectacular glove work, as seen through smartphones in and around Citizens Bank Park.
Texas Rangers icon Michael Young has strong clubhouse credentials and enough speed left in his bat to handle a prime lineup spot. Young’s fielding efforts won’t thrill gathered crowds, but his dirt work shouldn’t inspire much booing either.
Mike Adams has been the most important acquisition to-date. The man who stands to replace Ryan Madson in the movie sequel “Eight is Great Again”, was the best available setup man on the market. If fully healthy, he will combine with Jonathan Papelbon to form one of the better late-inning tandems in the game.
Hamels and Cliff Lee are still outstanding. As long as Roy Halladay is healthy, he and his superb colleagues will form a terrific rotational trio once again.
John Lannan will likely mimic Kendrick, albeit from the left side. Doing so will keep him firmly planted in the fifth starter’s spot and within .500 range.
There’s no telling if Charlie Manuel‘s squad will actually begin a renewed playoff push when the spring arrives. But, having three of the best positional players in franchise history (Rollins, Utley and Howard), along with Hamels, Ruiz behind the plate and a steady Kendrick helps to form a solid base.
Amaro has also given himself enough payroll space to add another veteran outfielder and plug any holes that open as 162 games are slowly checked off the schedule. That financial factor should allow the Phillies to adapt along the way and return to the postseason next fall.