Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Aftermath

Well it’s over.  As with any disaster the day after is a time to reflect and assess the damage.  Here’s what we know:  The 2011 Philadelphia Phillies season was a bust and a huge disappointment.  At this point I don’t care about any of the records.  102 wins?  Who cares?  5 straight division titles?  Does it really matter?  Maybe someday we can look back on the 2011 Phillies and smile.  Right now looking back just makes me sick.  The Phillies have reached the point that anything less than a championship is an epic failure.  Sure it was a fun ride this season but so is riding a roller coaster that crashes after a big hill.  It was fun until the bottom of that hill but the fact remains the coaster crashed.  So forgive me if I’m speaking out of emotion right now rather than logic but as far as I’m concerned the 2011 Phillies crashed and burned, just like that coaster.  A complete and utter waste.  I’ve been in attendance for a few epic crushing losses as an Eagles season ticket holder.  This one hurts worse than the 2002 and 2003 NFC Championship games combined.  Everyone has been talking about how the Eagles are the all hype team in the NFL this year.  I say the 2011 were the ultimate all hype team.

As we look ahead to 2012, the Phillies will still be a good team.  Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Oswalt, and Worley are still under contract.  So is Joe Blanton.  Maybe you can trade either Oswalt or Blanton for something.  What I’m not sure.  Hamels is eligible for arbitration and should get a good payday.  The bullpen is still shaky.  Can Bastardo pitch like he did during the regular season or was he just out of his mind and the pitcher we saw down the stretch is what they’ll get?  Madsen is a free agent.  I’m sure the Phillies will try to resign him but he will get a lot of offers and with Scott Boras as his agent may be too expensive for the Phillies to bring back.  The closer market will be deep so maybe they sign someone cheap but Madsen will be hard to replace.  Bullpen should be a high priority this off season.

Will 2012 bring disappointment?
Offensively the Phillies are all one year older.  In 2011 the Phillies had the oldest roster in baseball.  Raul Ibanez is a free agent so that should drop the average age a bit but the fact remains that most of the core of this team are all in their 30’s.  Having Hunter Pence and Chase Utley in the lineup for a full year will help.  Pence is eligible for arbitration this year.  Jimmy Rollins is a free agent.  Other than Jose Reyes there are no good shortstops available.  Personally I think they should try to re-sign Jimmy but I’m not sure they would be able to afford to as Jimmy will want to get paid.  The Phillies have their future shortstop in the minors with 21-year old Freddy Galvis.  Will he be ready for prime time in 2012?  Probably not.  If you don’t sign Rollins then what to you do while you wait for Galvis?  Re-sign Michael Martinez and another journeyman until he’s ready?  That’s why I believe you need to re-sign Rollins. 

Ryan Howard most likely tore his Achilles tendon.  If he has surgery the recovery time is 6-9 months.  That takes you well into the 2012 season.  If John Mayberry Jr. is ready to play an entire season, he can fill in at first but now this means you need to find another outfielder.  Placido Polanco has been often injured the past 2 seasons and was obviously affected by the sports hernia he played with.  Can he stay healthy for 2012?  Let’s hope so if not 3rd base becomes a concern.  With Utley, Victorino, and Ruiz you hope that another year and a long season doesn’t take too much of a toll on their bodies.  So the offense needs to stay healthy and produce or else 2012 could be a long season.

Could we be seeing this in a Marlins uniform in 2012?
I’m not ready to close the window of opportunity on the Phillies yet but it is getting close.  Can they win a 6th straight division title?  Sure, but it won’t be as easy as this year.  You have to figure the Braves will be back.  I’m sure Ozzie Guillen will have a young Marlins team playing better and with some swag.  Watch out for the Nationals as well.  They won the season series against the Phillies in 2011 and will have Stephen Strasburg back and phenom Bryce Harper will most likely make his debut even though most experts say he won’t be ready until 2013.  So a 6th straight division title will be tough.  With the starting rotation the Phillies will definitely be competitive.  They undoubtedly need the offense to be more consistent however. 
What will 2012 bring?  Who knows.  The sting of 2011 is making it hard to look ahead.  

Alas the sun will come out and life will go on.  At least now we can focus on the Eagl…oh yeah, never mind.  The Flyers got underway this week and they should be a good team.  Still doesn’t take the hurt away but at least I still have fantasy football.  Thanks for all your continued support and look for Obstructed Views on Twitter and Facebook as well as me on LinkedIn.  Until next time this is Jimbo saying sigh……….

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