Philadelphia Phillies: Answering the Ryan Howard Question in 2013

January 31, 2013 by Pete Dymeck  
Filed under Fan News

The career of Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard has taken a tumultuous turn for the worse in the last three years.

For fans in the City of Brotherly Love, the love—or lack thereof—for Howard is rooted in the discontent of his strikeout while looking in the 2010 National League Championship Series versus the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants.

Then when you add on his eventful demise during the final at-bat of the 2011 NL Division Series versus the St. Louis Cardinals, where Howard suffered a torn Achilles and had to have surgery that would force him to miss the first three months of the 2012 season, one can easily see where the roots of this discontent stem from.

Simply put, the high hopes of Phillies fans have been squashed in recent years due to the fact that the Phillies have failed to live up to expectations since winning the World Series in 2008. The ensuing years were ripe with disappointment while clubs with weaker expectations persevered and triumphed over the more talented Phillies.

Any hopes of the Phillies being serious contenders for the NL pennant in 2013 are held by blatant homers. This current crop of players lack a cohesive identity. In their confusion, they also lack a serious face for the franchise.

The debate over who the face of the Phillies will forever rage on with the current roster. Many folks believe that the shortstop, Jimmy Rollins, is at the pinnacle of this club. Others think it is Chase Utley or one of the three aces (Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee or Cole Hamels). Others think it is the "Big Piece" Ryan Howard.

Regardless of how one feel's, Howard has been the most productive Phillie since 2005. That year, Howard smacked 22 HR and 63 RBI in 348 PA while maintaining an average of .288. His Wins Above Replacement (WAR) for his rookie year was a modest 2.2. At the end of the season, Howard became the first Phillie to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award since third baseman Scott Rolen in 1997.

The following year, at age 27, Howard mashed 58 HR in 702 PA. He would drive in 149 RBI while hitting .313 on his way to winning the NL Most Valuable Player award, the first for a Phillie since third baseman Mike Schmidt in 1986.

Despite not cracking the majors in a full-time role until the age of 26, Howard made a big splash in his first two "full" seasons with the Phillies. Needless to say, he earned the recognition of "face of the franchise."

The downside to this success Howard was having was the frustration with his strikeouts. Howard averaged 191 K from 2006 through 2009. It was in 2007 where Howard would break the record previously held by Adam Dunn for most strikeouts in a season (199). In 2008, Mark Reynolds would break this record with 204 K only to break it again in 2009 with a still-standing record of 223 K.

Aside from the strikeouts, Phillies fans were please with Howards production. 

Through the 2011 season, Howard never hit for less than 31 HR and 108 RBI (aside from his rookie year). 

Signs of trouble in the future were coming though. From 2006 through 2009, Howard maintained an average WAR of 4.4 with a peak in 2006 of 6.2. In 2010 and 2011, however, Howard's WAR stood at 1.4 and 1.7, respectively.

For comparisons sake, in 2011 first baseman James Loney (Dodgers), first baseman Casey Kotchman (Rays) and first baseman Carlos Lee (Astros) all finished with a higher WAR despite weaker production at the plate. Of the aforementioned trio, no one outproduced Howard in homers, runs scored or RBI.

Quite frankly, the scare was on because it seemed that the word "downside" was becoming synonymous with Howard.

For sensible purposes, we can discount Howard's 2012 season due to him missing the first three months of the season and subsequent recovery while playing from his torn Achilles surgery.

In 2013, Howard will be earning a salary of $20 million with $25 million pressed against the luxury tax threshold. 

For payroll purposes, he is the highest paid hitter on the Phillies. He is also the most important facet of the Phillies offense. After all, Howard has led the Phillies in RBI each year from 2006 through 2011. In 2012, the Phillies finished 19th in team RBI, behind the even more destitute Minnesota Twins

By comparison, the Phillies finished 11th in 2011 in RBI, eighth in 2010, fourth in 2009 and eighth in 2008.

Therefore, a direct causal association between the production of Howard and the Phillies in scoring runs exists. For how long this pattern will endure is dependent upon the production of Howard and his ability to play a full season. Until proven otherwise, it is essential to note the influence Howard's bat has on the success of the Phillies.

For the Phillies to sneak up and maintain in a competition with the perceived NL East favorites, Washington and Atlanta, an imperative prevails for Howard to return to producing 30-plus home runs and 100-plus RBI. 

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Philadelphia Phillies: What Does Chad Durbin’s Signing Mean for Phils’ Bullpen?

January 31, 2013 by Matt Boczar  
Filed under Fan News

Doesn’t this seem familiar?  For the second consecutive offseason, Philadelphia Phillies' general manager, Ruben Amaro, Jr., has added an outfielder and a reliever with just a few weeks to go until the start of spring training.

Kind of like the impulse buying that takes place in the checkout aisle with all those packs of gum staring back at you.

While the addition of Delmon Young on a one-year, $750,000 deal adds another outfielder to the mix, Young still does not give the Phils a definitive starter at either of the corner outfield spots.

The team’s latest addition has seemingly already been given a spot on the 25-man roster.

The Phillies recently signed right-handed reliever Chad Durbin to a one-year, $1.1 million deal that includes an option for 2014. 

Durbin bounced back from a 5.53 ERA in 2011 to go 4-1 with 49 strikeouts and a 3.10 ERA in 76 games last season. 

What’s more impressive, however, is how he held right-handed batters to a .206 average.  During the past three seasons combined, Durbin has racked up 171 strikeouts in 198 innings.

Matt Gelb on Philly.com recently wrote that the Phillies’ Opening Day payroll could be at its lowest total since the 2010 season, although the article was published before Durbin’s signing.  Gelb also wrote that the Phils were about $11 million under the luxury tax threshold.  With Durbin and his $1.1 million salary in the fold, the Phillies should still have their lowest payroll since 2010, and should have just under $10 million to go before hitting the tax threshold.

At that price and with plenty of payroll room for a smaller scale signing, such a deal shouldn’t hurt the Phillies financially.  However, Durbin’s signing does take away a spot from a reliever previously expected to have a good shot at being in the team’s Opening Day bullpen.

Todd Zolecki on the Phillies’ website provided a glimpse as to which bullpen spots are all but locked up and how many are up for grabs:

Durbin is expected to join a bullpen that includes closer Jonathan Papelbon, setup man Mike Adams and left-hander Antonio Bastardo.  His arrival means that there likely will be three jobs available in the bullpen, which should make for an interesting competition in Spring Training.

Those three remaining spots will likely be fought for by Phillippe Aumont, Justin De Fratus, Jake Diekman, Jeremy Horst, Michael Stutes and Raul Valdes

But only half of this list will make the Opening Day roster.

Prior to Durbin’s signing, the Phillies seemingly had room in their bullpen for both Stutes and Aumont, with two more left-handers joining Bastardo.  Now, however, at least one of these players will likely be left out when the team breaks camp for the start of the season.

Stutes may have an advantage if he can remain healthy throughout spring training, and if his performances resemble those of 2011.  Prior to pitching in just six games and having rotator cuff surgery last season, Stutes had a 3.63 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 62 innings in 2011.

If he can remain healthy, Stutes may also benefit from Aumont missing time from camp to represent Canada in the World Basic Classic.  Despite showing great promise after being called-up last season, Aumont now appears to be on the outside looking in when it comes to the final bullpen spots. 

Aumont struck out 14 batters in 14.2 innings last season after being called-up in late August.

Durbin’s addition could have less of an impact on left-handed relievers fighting to win bullpen spots behind Bastardo

Diekman had 35 strikeouts in 27.1 innings and only gave up one home run, but finished with a 3.95 ERA.  Horst struck out 40 batters in 31.1 innings and had an outstanding 1.15 ERA, but, after coming over last offseason in a trade for Wilson Valdez, he will also have to prove that he can match these numbers in consecutive seasons.  Valdes had 35 strikeouts in 31 innings and had a 2.90 ERA, but has only appeared in 40 major league games in the past two seasons combined.

Behind Bastardo, only two of these relievers will likely make the Opening Day roster, unless the Phillies decide to carry five right-handed relievers.

After filling their need for a right-handed eighth inning reliever by signing Mike Adams earlier in the offseason, the Phillies could have left the bullpen alone and used minor signings to bring more pitchers to camp.

With a veteran right-hander in the mix, adding an experienced left-handed reliever would have made sense, but adding another right-hander seems to be a case of Amaro trying to add value at a low cost.  In Zolecki’s article, as previously mentioned, Amaro is also quoted as saying that Durbin’s experience is something he brings to the team that the other, young relievers, cannot.

The Phillies used 19 different pitchers in relief roles last season, which means that the players serving in the seven bullpen spots can change multiple times this season.

And, after last season, it’s difficult to argue with having more experienced and proven relievers in the mix.

But signing Durbin to a major league deal means that at least one young reliever has even more work cut out for him in order to start the season on the Opening Day roster.   

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MLB Preseason Evaluation Series: 2013 Philadelphia Phillies

January 31, 2013 by Jeremy Dorn  
Filed under Fan News

This series will evaluate one team per day, starting on January 23, 2013 and ending on February 22, 2013 (the first game of spring training). It is based on last season's performance, offseason changes since and the author's outlook for the team in 2013. Please keep in mind that rosters can, and will, change before Opening Day. We started in the AL East and now go to the NL side, starting in the East and going in alphabetical order. Next up, the Philadelphia Phillies.

 

2012 finish: 81-81 (3rd place, NL East)

 

Key additions

LHP John Lannan, RHP Chad Durbin, RHP Rodrigo Lopez, RHP Mike Adams, RHP Juan Cruz, RHP Aaron Cook, OF Ben Revere, OF Delmon Young, 3B Michael Young

 

Key losses

RHP Josh Lindblom, RHP Jose Contreras, RHP Vance Worley, OF Juan Pierre, OF Nate Schierholtz, 1B Ty Wigginton, 3B Placido Polanco, C Brian Schneider

 

Why they will improve this year

It's hard to even call the 2012 Phillies a disappointment, given the ridiculous list of injuries they had to endure. The pitching staff was banged up, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard missed time and Carlos Ruiz was out for the stretch run.

And this is exactly why the Phillies are primed for a rebound in 2013. Not only are Utley and Howard due for some good luck on the health front, but the Phillies should have the big three pitchers back for a lot longer than they are used to. 

General Manager Ruben Amaro made a few very shrewd moves in the offseason to upgrade third base and the outfield. Instead of the punchless trio of outfielders they had after the trade deadline last season, they can now rely on the powerful bat of Young in right field and the combination of speed and defense of Revere in center. 

Young, the former Texas Ranger, had been "declining" in Arlington last year, but he's only one season removed from hitting .338 and still boasts well over 2,000 career hits. Young gives a professional at-bat every time up and plays fundamentally sound at multiple positions. I think this will turn out to be a key pick-up for Philly, and there are a few teams that will regret having not made a viable offer to Texas.

With the most important veteran players back healthy in 2013, plus a few smart additions to the fold (lest we forget about the John Lannan, a very good player buried behind All-Star talent in Washington), I would not be surprised to see Philadelphia approach 90 wins again.

 

Why they will regress this year

The only way that the Phillies regress is if they get bitten by the injury bug again. Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee are both getting on in years, so while it would be surprising to see them get hurt, it's always possible. And we've seen Howard and Utley both struggle with various ailments in recent years.

Add in the fact that Delmon Young, Michael Young and Jimmy Rollins are getting on in years and Philadelphia is really relying on a largely aging roster. The flip side is even more suspect—how will Domonic Brown, John Mayberry, Jr. and Freddy Galvis perform, especially if more responsibility falls to them in the case of injury?

How will Delmon and Michael Young, Revere and Lannan fit in on a team that's been a powerful unit weighed down by expectations for years now? While I don't necessarily foresee team chemistry as an issue, I do expect the catcher's position to be suspect.

With Carlos Ruiz suspended for the first month or so of 2013, the Phils shouldn't expect much offensive production from that position for a while. And when Ruiz does return, can he repeat last year's performance?

Even if he comes remotely close, the Phillies will be in business.

 

The outlook for 2013

Honestly, I'm hard pressed to believe the Phillies will dip below .500 this season. I'm more inclined to see a major improvement in wins. Approaching 90 wins is a legitimate possibility with the healthy return of all three ace pitchers and the big bats of Utley and Howard. 

Adding Michael Young, Delmon Young, Revere and Lannan were all fantastic moves by Amaro. I would be shocked to see Michael Young's numbers not go back up, and Delmon Young will be a good pick-up even if he has an average year. Anything is an upgrade over Schierholtz. 

Lannan gives the rotation a little added punch, and Revere will flawlessly replace Shane Victorino in the outfield. You have to like the pitching in Philly, and the potential prowess of the lineup. A lot of the power will hinge on whether Delmon Young can recover from an ankle injury and get used to playing right field again after a six-year hiatus.

The main worry for me aside from health is whether or not the veteran hitters who have thrived for so long will continue to do so. Time is running out for one of the older teams in the league, but it's the opinion of this writer that the Phillies get right back into the wild-card hunt in 2013 and reach the high 80s in wins.

I don't think they overtake Atlanta or Washington, but they will be surprisingly close.

 

Possible changes before Opening Day

For a while there, it looked like Amaro would go after Vernon Wells and Scott Hairston to upgrade the outfield. Luckily for Phillie fans, they scored with Revere and Young instead. I don't expect the Phillies to make any other moves before the season begins.

If they were to look into bolstering any position, I'd hope it would be the bullpen, as Phillie relievers ranked in the lower half of the National League in 2012. Adding Durbin, Adams and Cook to that squad will help somewhat, but they could use another lefty arm or two.

 

Biggest surprise: John Lannan

Biggest disappointment: Carlos Ruiz

Bold prediction: Ryan Howard finishes with 35 home runs, 120 RBI

 

Projected lineup (after Ruiz returns)

1. Jimmy Rollins, SS

2. Ben Revere, CF

3. Chase Utley, 2B

4. Ryan Howard, 1B

5. Delmon Young, RF

6. Michael Young, 3B

7. Carlos Ruiz, C

8. Domonic Brown, LF

 

Projected rotation

1. Cole Hamels, LHP

2. Roy Halladay, RHP

3. Cliff Lee, LHP

4. Kyle Kendrick, RHP

5. John Lannan, LHP

 

Projected finish: 89-73 (3rd place, NL East)

 

For other preseason evaluations:

AL East

Baltimore Orioles

Boston Red Sox

New York Yankees

Tampa Bay Rays

Toronto Blue Jays


NL East

Atlanta Braves

Miami Marlins

New York Mets

Washington Nationals

 

You can follow Jeremy on Twitter @Jamblinman.


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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

One Goal for Each Philadelphia Phillies Player in Spring Training

January 30, 2013 by Greg Pinto  
Filed under Fan News

Thinking conservatively, the Philadelphia Phillies' spring training is going to be "interesting" this year. And I use the word "interesting" because there are a number of words that can be used to describe this upcoming March in Clearwater, Florida, and not all of them are kind. One variable can tip in the wrong direction and all of the sudden this club's spring training is "horrendous"—just for example.

So when the Phillies arrive to camp this spring, they'll have specific goals that need to be accomplished if they're going to be successful. They need Roy Halladay to be healthy. They need guys like Ryan Howard and Chase Utley to drive the outfield, and that's said without mentioning the outfield situation. 

The fact of the matter is that the Phillies are at a crossroads this season. The Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves are both very good, young teams, and only getting better. The Phillies are an older team with younger reinforcements on the way, although not readily available. 

Those are the kind of factors that this club needs to be aware of this spring. The following slideshow will list one, major goal for every player and outline what they need to do to have a successful season both for themselves and the team. 

Begin Slideshow

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies: Comparing the Current Lineup to the 1983 ‘Wheeze Kids’

January 29, 2013 by Marilee Gallagher  
Filed under Fan News

Let's go back a couple of years to remember a certain Philadelphia Phillies team that will always live in the minds and hearts of the fans.

Ah yes, the year was 2008 and the team was coming off of a glorious and spirited World Championship run, one that won't quickly be forgotten. The year following, the expectations didn't at all waiver, yet, ultimately, the team came up short.

As the core that brought the city of Philadelphia a championship got older, the Phillies failed time and time again, coming up short in a run at another championship. The players got older and the expectations lessened.

So was the story of the post 2008 Phillies, a team that...

Wait... Stop me if you've heard this one before.

I'm willing to bet most of you have because that is exactly what is going on with the Phillies now. The 2013 team is in the same situation as a team from not too long ago; 30 years to be exact.

The year was 1983 and the Phillies were just three seasons removed from winning the first ever championship in franchise history. That said, in both '81, much like the '09, '10 and '11 Phillies teams, there were playoffs but nothing further. In '82, the team didn't even sniff the postseason, much like the 2012 Phillies, who missed out on winning an NL wildcard.

Besides a lack of playoff success, yet another similarity between both teams is age. The '83 team, whose average age topped out at over 32 (slightly older than the 2013 Phillies at 30 plus), was named the "Wheeze Kids." It was a team that consisted of an aging Mike Schmidt and a Pete Rose, Joe Morgan and Tony Perez reunited, yet all in the twilight of their careers. Not much was expected, but much was received.

That '83 Phillies team pulled off a minor miracle, doing something that the 2013 Phillies team hopes to repeat. They made it to the World Series, and although, they were easily ousted by the Baltimore Orioles, they really did prove that age is just a number.

So in the spirit of that team's 30th anniversary and the similarities between the two squads, let's take a look at how the players compare position by position.

The window may be basically closed shut, but if history means anything (and in baseball it often means everything), then the 2013 Phillies should not be counted out.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Is Ruben Amaro Jr. Optimistic or Delusional to Think 2013 Phillies Will Compete?

January 29, 2013 by Ian Casselberry  
Filed under Fan News

Have the Philadelphia Phillies made enough improvements to their roster to compete with the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves in the NL East? 

General manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. thinks so, according to comments he made to MLB.com's Phillies beat reporter Todd Zolecki

"I think we have a good enough team to contend for the division, yes," Amaro told Zolecki. "Absolutely. It's up to the players to prove me right, I guess."

To be fair to Amaro, what else is he supposed to say?

Look, everyone else sees what the Nats and Braves have done. We're thinking of forfeiting the season. Atlanta traded for Justin Upton, and we signed Delmon Young. When that deal hit the news, I hid under my desk and cried for six hours. Contend? Yeah, right! 

With those remarks, however, Amaro comes off a bit like Kevin Bacon in Animal House, trying to keep a frenzied crowd under control. "Remain calm!" he yells. "All is well!" 

But will Amaro eventually be stampeded by Phillies fans who expect much more from a team that won five straight division titles from 2007 to 2011 and contended for most of the past 12 seasons?

The Nationals compiled the best record in MLB last year at 98-64, finishing 17 games ahead of the Phillies in the NL East. During the offseason, Nats GM Mike Rizzo added Dan Haren to the team's starting rotation, traded for center fielder Denard Span and signed free-agent closer Rafael Soriano. 

As mentioned above, the Braves acquired Justin Upton, a player one season removed from an MVP-caliber season of 31 home runs, 88 RBI, 39 doubles and 21 stolen bases. Prior to that, Atlanta signed B.J. Upton to be their center fielder and added Jordan Walden to an already outstanding bullpen. 

Meanwhile, the Phillies also got a center fielder, trading for Ben Revere. That fulfilled Amaro's primary offseason objective. Michael Young was acquired to fill the hole at third base. Philadelphia also signed Delmon Young to provide a right-handed power bat in the outfield. 

On the pitching side, Amaro signed one of MLB's best setup relievers in Mike Adams. John Lannan was added to the back end of the starting rotation. Reliever Chad Durbin and Yuniesky Betancourt were also signed for roster depth. 

Yet, those additions aren't joining a squad full of replacement-level players.

The Phillies still have the best trio of starting pitchers atop their rotation with Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.

Philadelphia should also have Chase Utley and Ryan Howard back at full health after both players missed significant time with injuries last season. And after he returns from a 25-game suspension, Carlos Ruiz gives the Phillies one of the best catchers in MLB. 

However, are the Phillies better than the team that finished 81-81 last season?

Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino are gone. Vance Worley is no longer in the starting rotation. Though Ruiz's suspension accounts for only 15 percent of the season, that could limit him to approximately 100 games in 2013. 

It should be noted that after looking like a potential last-place team early in the season, the Phillies played far better in the second half. The team played itself into the NL wild-card playoff race by going 44-31.

But nearly all of the additions Amaro made to the Phillies roster have rather significant question marks going into the upcoming season. 

Revere will be a stolen-base threat at the top of the batting order. But his OPS was only .675 last season. His .333 on-base percentage would have ranked fifth among the Phillies' regular starters. He also mostly batted in the No. 2 spot for the Minnesota Twins last year. 

Michael Young is coming off the worst season of his career at age 36. He batted .277 with a .682 OPS, nine home runs and 67 RBI.

Young was also mostly a designated hitter last year, playing just 25 games at third base. When he was in the field, he allowed five runs more than the average third baseman, according to FanGraphs' ultimate zone rating (UZR).

Delmon Young hit .267 with a .707 OPS, 18 home runs and 74 RBI last season. He was more impressive during the playoffs, batting .313 with a .907 OPS, three homers and nine RBI. The Phillies wanted a right-handed bat and Young hits left-handed pitching well, compiling a .308 average, .833 OPS, seven homers and 26 RBI versus southpaws last year.

The big concern with Young, however, is that the Phillies apparently intend to make him their starting right fielder. He hasn't played that position since 2007 with the Tampa Bay Rays. But since then, he's been a left fielder and designated hitter. 

FanGraphs' UZR measured Young as a good defensive right fielder, saving eight runs more than an average player during the two seasons he played the position. But we're only talking about 133 games to judge. Young will also be recovering from microfracture surgery on his ankle, which could prevent him from opening the season on the Phillies' active roster. 

Comparing the Phillies to the Nationals and Braves—especially taking each team's offseason moves into consideration—doesn't look very favorable. For Amaro to say he expects his team to compete with two clubs that could be the best in the NL seems optimistic at best. 

However, Philadelphia could influence who does eventually win the NL East or a wild-card playoff spot. The Phillies won't be a pushover for the Nats or Braves in the division.

But for Amaro to think his team can ultimately be anything more than a spoiler by the end of the upcoming season might be borderline delusional. This just doesn't look like their year. 

 

Follow @iancass on Twitter

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Scouting Report on Each Phillies Pitcher, Catcher Heading into Spring Training

January 28, 2013 by PHIL KEIDEL  
Filed under Fan News

It seems not so long ago that the Philadelphia Phillies were defending their National League East title with the "Four Aces" serving as the keystone of the team.

But while Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee continue to be widely recognized as aces, Roy Oswalt is long gone and Roy Halladay may or may not still have the stuff to lead a rotation.

Given the Phillies' ongoing concerns on offense—the Delmon Young signing was not indicative of great confidence in the power department—it is apparent that unless the team pitches and catches it well in 2013, drastic roster changes are likely.

As with so much Phillies news these days, the team's forecast for pitchers and catchers is varied.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Profiles on Phillies’ Non-Roster and Under-the-Radar Players in Spring Training

January 28, 2013 by Greg Pinto  
Filed under Fan News

After five straight division titles that produced two trips to the World Series and one parade, the Philadelphia Phillies are coming off one of their most disappointing seasons in recent memory—a lackluster third place finish, nestled in behind a pair of division rivals with young rosters.

And also, there is the realization that the following few seasons will be an uphill battle, regardless of the overall age of the Phillies' roster. 

The fact of the matter here is that the Phillies aren't getting any younger. Their window to compete for another championship may not be "closing" per se, but with the core of this roster quickly deteriorating, it certainly is not as wide open as it has been in years past. 

That's why, in this spring more than any other in recent memory, the Phillies may have to rely on a few unlikely names. Each spring, teams invite "non-roster players"—or players not on the 40-man roster—to MLB camp to participate in spring training.

This way, they can get a look at their minor league depth and give players a chance to win a position battle. 

Those players are going to be important for the Phillies this season. They are in older team who needs to create depth in certain areas of the club. In this slideshow, I will give profiles on all of the Phillies' non-roster invitees as well as a few "under-the-radar" players who can help the club in 2013.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Latest News on Every Injured Philadelphia Phillies Player

January 28, 2013 by Matt Boczar  
Filed under Fan News

Last season, the Philadelphia Phillies and “injuries” were mentioned all too often in the same sentence.

Throughout the year, more than half of the Phillies’ 25-man roster spent time on the disabled list.  A total of 285 games were missed just by players who would have been Opening Day starters, if healthy, due to time on the DL.

But what about this season?

The Phillies' lack of major spending this offseason could be a result of the question marks surrounding the health of key players currently on the roster.  Few free agents would have made a significant difference, even with players such as Chase Utley and Ryan Howard on the disabled list.

However, with an injury-free lineup and a healthy Roy Halladay in the starting rotation, the Phillies' offseason moves could make for ideal complementary pieces.

With key players nearing free agency, having a healthy 2013 is now even more important for both the individual player, and the team.

The offseason is taking its final turn towards the start of spring training, so let’s take a look at the latest news on every injured Phillies player.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

25 Bold Predictions for the Philadelphia Phillies in Spring Training

January 25, 2013 by Greg Pinto  
Filed under Fan News

It wasn't easy, and it certainly didn't go according to plan, but the Philadelphia Phillies somehow managed to cross off all of the items on their offseason shopping list before spring training arrived, adding a center fielder, third baseman, starting pitcher, setup man and corner outfielder. 

Now as January rolls into its final weeks and the month of February rounds into focus, it's time to dust off the good old crystal ball and offer up some bold predictions for this Phillies club during spring training—and it is going to be an eventful one. 

The Phillies will have all of the good storylines this spring. Players returning from injury like Roy Halladay and Chase Utley will be a big focus. How about players competing for jobs, like the trio of Darin Ruf, Domonic Brown and Delmon Young? Then there is always the favorite question—what can the new guys offer? 

Yes, it is certainly going to be an eventful spring for this Phillies club eager to climb back to the top of the division, but why wait? Here are 25 bold predictions for spring training in Clearwater, Florida

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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