The Phillies ended the 2011 season by winning the NL East crown and then were up set in the NLDS by the Cards.
On one hand I have to give the Phillies credit since this championship run started they have been very aggressive in the market acquiring players through trade and free agency. I could only have wished the Mets would have acted in the same manor back in 2006, instead the Mets limited themselves to just filling holes and never getting that player to put them over the top.
On the other hand each time I see the Phillies sign one of these aggressive deals, I keep saying it's going to end up blowing up in their face. They're giving up too many years and too much money, to aging players but so far it's seems to all have worked out perfectly for them.
This might be the first year they're starting to feel the financial crunch of being among the top payrolls in the league, despite great attendance and playoff money they have not replaced the players leaving with equal or greater valued players. However, those who are leaving are all injuries risk, despite being significant contributors when available.
Here's a look at who is leaving and what they contributed last year...
Roy Oswalt- 3.69 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 23 starts, 139 innings
Ryan Madison- 2.37 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 62 saves, 62 games
Brad Lidge- 1.40 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 25 games
Raul Ibanez- .245 BA, .289 OBP, 20 HR, 84 RBIs, 144 games
Ross Glaud- .257, 8 doubles in 93 games
Here's who is returning...
Instead of bringing in a big name free agent on a multi-year deal to replace Raul Ibanez they are looking to see John Mayberry and Domonic Brown to step up. If neither youngster blossoms there is a group of re-treads looking to fill-in; Laynce Nix, Juan Pierre, Lou Montenez, Bret Clevlen, Scott Podsednik. Ibanez bat is on the decline but he still provides power and was durable for a 39 y/o.
Ross Glaud is being replaced by Jim Thome who played in 93 games with 15 HR and a BA of .256, his numbers were better but he only played one game in the field at 3B. With Howard out on injury to start the season, can Thome hold down the position. His back-up will by Ty Wiggington, Wiggy hit .242 with 15 HRs and 21 doubles.
Ryan Madison and Brad Lidge will be replaced by Jonathan Paplebon with an ERA 2.94 and 31 saves I think Pap is a solid replacement at closer but I wouldn't be too confident with the set-up role. Jose Contreras, Antonio Bastardo and Jeremy Horst wouldn't excite me in that role.
Can Vance Worley and his 3.01 ERA in 21 starts take the next step to replace Oswalt as a full time figure in the rotation or will Kyle Kendrick take that spot with a 3.22 ERA in 15 starts. If neither can step up they're already brought in a host of retreads Dontrelle Willis, Joel Pineiro, Dave Bush, Scott Elarton and Raul Valdes.
I think this is the year the Braves catch the Phillies but I also said last year the team looked old and wouldn't have the money to replace injuries at the deadline.