Meet The NL East: Phillies Looking To Bounce Back In 2013

Rich Schultz

The Phillies were old in 2012. They got even older this past offseason.

Most folks would agree that the Philadelphia Phillies had one of the worst offseasons in baseball.

General manager Ruben Amaro did little solve the problems surrounding his roster. For a team that already has a core of older guys past the prime of their careers, he went and added Michael Young to be the club's starting third baseman, and then, for some reason, signed Delmon Young to be an everyday outfielder.

The starting rotation and bullpen were pretty sound heading into the winter, although Amaro did add John Lannan* to be their fifth starter. Mike Adams was added to the bullpen.

*Charlie Manuel has already announced Lannan will start Opening Day against the Braves, and that he will consider pitching him on two-days rest to face Atlanta.

Anyway, let's take a look at the roster.

Projected Lineup, courtesy of MLB Depth Charts.

1 SS Jimmy Rollins
2 CF Ben Revere
3 2B Chase Utley
4 1B Ryan Howard
5 3B Michael Young
6 RF Laynce Nix/Darin Ruf
7 LF Domonic Brown/Delmon Young
8 C Erik Kratz

If this was a lineup back in 2010 or so, the Phillies would be loaded. Chase Utley is still a pretty darn good hitter, Ryan Howard and Michael Young were two of the least valuable players in baseball last season.

The notable absence here is to catcher Carlos Ruiz, who is suspended 25 games to begin the year. While his impact will be big once he returns to the lineup, it's tough to imagine the 34-year-old catcher duplicating the huge numbers he put up last year.

Read More: Meet the 2013 Miami Marlins.

Ben Revere is a guy the Braves were considering for center field before signing B.J. Upton. He's a pest on the base paths (74 steals the past two seasons), but he'll need to improve upon his career .319 on-base percentage if he hopes to rejuvenate the lineup.

The Phillies will mix and match their corner outfielders, but unless Domonic Brown, who is a former top-prospect, finally figures it out, the bottom-third of the order will be pretty punchless.

Also, defensively, this may be the worst team in the National League.

Projected Starting Rotation:

1 RHP Roy Halladay
2 LHP Cliff Lee
3 LHP Cole Hamels
4 RHP Kyle Kendrick
5 LHP John Lannan

If Halladay is healthy, this rotation will continue to be one of the better ones in baseball. Halladay was clearly not himself in 2012, though, and the city of Philadelphia will be holding its collective breath whenever their 35-year-old ace is on the mound.

Lee and Hamels are as good as they come in the National League, and both Kendrick and Lannan are fine at the back-end of the rotation. One thing I'm really looking forward to is how the Braves far against these three lefties now that they've finally got some right-handed pop in their lineup.

Projected Bullpen:

CL RHP Jonathan Papelbon
SU RHP Mike Adams
SU LHP Antonio Bastardo
MID RHP Mike Stutes
MID LHP Jeremy Horst
MID RHP Chad Durbin
LR LHP Raul Valdes

Really looking forward to Durbin giving up some homers this year, you guys.

In all seriousness, this should be a solid group. Papelbon, Adams and Bastardo will be really tough in the final few innings each night.

Final Thoughts:

There are a lot of questions with this Phillies team.

Will Halladay be healthy and/or return to his normal form? How limited will Howard and Utley be by injuries that have plagued them the past couple seasons? Does Ruiz return to his 2012 form, or does he regress to his career norms? Just how bad will the defense be?

If a lot of things go right, the Phillies could be a 85+ win team and compete for a wild card spot. I'm not so optimistic, and another season right around .500 seems likely for this old bunch of ballplayers.

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