Pitchers and catchers of the Philadelphia Phillies will report to Clearwater, FL in less than two days to begin spring training. Most years during this time there is excitement surrounding spring training and a new Phillies season. This year, however many fans are more nervous than excited about this team. It is understandable why the fan base is not as excited this season compared to others. However, there are still a few reasons why fans should be excited for spring training and the 2013 season in general.
The Phillies are coming off an 81-81 season and they did not make any offseason splashes, leaving many question marks surrounding the team coming into this season. However, this team still does have a lot of talent throughout the lineup. You can’t blame everything bad that happened last year on injuries, but they did have a lot to do with it. When healthy, the Phillies were a decent 44-31. Clearly the team can still put wins together if they can stay healthy. This will be the first time in a few years where there is not a major injury to worry about and despite an aging infield and questions in the outfield a healthy team can go along way.
Pitching was a big issue last year in both the starting rotation and the bullpen. Roy Halladay was not healthy for most of the year and Cliff Lee had a hard time getting run support and never recovered from a slow start. The positives coming into this year, however, are that Halladay is healthy, Lee hopefully will be able to accept last year as an off year and bounce back and Cole Hamels appears to be right in the prime of his career. The bullpen, arguably the biggest issue last season, may also see improvements this year. Mike Adams has been brought in to become a solid set up man for Jonathan Papelbon. This combination could help improve the bullpen greatly and could help Paplebon return to elite form in his second season in Philadelphia.
The final reason to be excited for spring training is that baseball is back. Plain and simple, spring training after a long winter gives you a summer feel and reminds you that spring is just around the corner. Opening day is coming soon enough and no other sport’s opening games give fans more hope for a successful season. It is hard to say how this season will play out in Philadelphia, but it will be exciting to see how it will come together and see what this team is able to do.