There has been a lot of question marks and negativity surrounding the Philadelphia Phillies entering spring training this year, but one person is staying optimistic. As the first official workout of 2013 began for the Phillies, season expectations were being discussed. General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Wednesday morning that “this Phillies team has the talent to win the world series.” Obviously the general manager of a team is not going to openly say that his team could not have a successful season, but is there any truth to Amaro’s comment?
Yes, there could be a lot to worry about when it comes to the Phillies this season, but the core group of players may still have what it takes for one final run at a championship. The majority of the team that won a franchise record 102 games in 2011 is still on the roster. While they are all two years older, they are all healthy again like they had been in 2011. The team that won 102 games that year showed they had the talent to beat anyone in the league. Some of the big players from that team, such as Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence and Placido Polanco are no longer with the Phillies, but the core of the team remains. Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins will continue to be the core of talent of the Phillies and all of them are entering spring training healthy for the first time in years.
Before the Phillies had the opportunity to win the World Series, they would first have to make the playoffs and that may more difficult this season than in previous years. The Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals both finished above the Phillies in the NL East last season and both improved their teams during the offseason. The Phillies will need to remain healthy most of the season if they want to have a shot at contending for a division title with both Atlanta and Washington,
If the Phillies can stay healthy it is possible that the core group of players could play close to their abilities of 2011. It is no secret that anything can happen in the MLB playoffs, so if the Phillies are able to beat out either the Braves or Nationals and earn a playoff spot through the division or wild card, it is possible they could make a run at the world series. At this point however, they need to focus on remaining healthy and look forward to opening day.