|Injured MVP Ryan Howard|
In case I haven't made it obvious enough yet, I hate big spending on closers. I know closer mentality is a real thing and they are a key component to any team. I get that the ability to keep cool under pressure is a specialized trait and that not everyone has it, but the Papelbon contract is just bonkers. The Phils let legitimate closer Ryan Madson go and replaced him with a more expensive pitcher who had worse numbers last season. I realize Papelbon's been closing a long time and on the biggest stage imaginable, but closing pitching isn't why the Phillies failed in the postseason.
Philadelphia is a pretty well rounded team. They have one of the best, if not the very best rotations in baseball. They also have an offense that, when healthy, is incredibly potent... therein lies their glaring flaw. All due respect to well-roundedness, the 5x consecutive division champs are growing older and losing their durability. Jimmy Rollins is five years removed from his MVP and was banged up last season. Ryan Howard (and his enormous contract) tore his left Achilles tendon on the very last at bat of the Phillies season last year and isn't set to come back until May at the earliest. Other than that they have an older (and still really fantastic, love to have him on my team) ace in Roy Halladay, an older guy at third in Placido Polanco, an apparently constantly banged up second basemen in Chase Utley and a not old but not young center fielder in Shane Victorino, who incidentally hit a two run home run off of the Pirates in a spring training game as I was writing that sentence.
|Auspicious young outfielder Dominic Brown|
|Bold prediction: Hunter Pence for team MVP 2012|
|Smirking hunk Cole Hamels pondering his next contract.|