A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP THE PHILLIES
There are a lot of problems here—as good as Washington and Atlanta are, they could bury the Phillies by May.... Roy Halladay has not looked good this spring, and that has to be a huge concern. His velocity is down, his stuff is not crisp at all, and his cutter doesn't have the late action it had in the past. Right now his best pitch is his changeup. It's tough to watch because the guy is a warrior, but it just doesn't look as if there's a lot left right now.... Cliff Lee's changeup was very effective in camp and he got into righthanders with his cutter. He still can move hitters' eyes: He pitches inside really well to both sides of the plate and he has a good enough changeup to keep righthanders off his fastball.... Chase Utley has shown that his lower half is back after all the injuries. But Ryan Howard is still limping a bit, and I wonder how healthy his legs will be over the long haul. Last year he didn't have the torque to turn on the ball. He's not a 40--50 home run guy anymore.... Sometimes Jimmy Rollins is his own worst enemy, like when he tries to get too big instead of just staying on the ball and having a good at bat. He's a little guy who has just enough power to get himself in trouble: He'll try to pull everything and end up giving up at bats.... The Phillies did a nice job bolstering their bullpen. The concern I have is that Jonathan Papelbon looks as if he's trying to reinvent himself. He had a four-pitch mix going this spring and is trying to develop his curveball. A four-pitch guy closing? That's not what he should be.
2013 Projected Statistics
MANAGER CHARLIE MANUEL
Ninth season with the Phillies
LINEUPS AND STAT PROJECTIONS BY ROTOWIRE.COM
The K Meter
Percentage of 2012 plate appearances that ended with a strikeout, and major league rank
BY HITTERS | 17.7% | 5TH
BY PITCHERS | 22.8% | 2ND
Hamels, Lee and Halladay carry an aging lineup, which gets a needed breakout year from Brown. Wild card's the ceiling.
Age catches up to Halladay, Utley, Howard and Rollins; short on farm talent, the Phils ponder a glum future.
Ted Keith has more on the Phillies at SI.com/mlb
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has treated the Phillies' subpar 2012 season as an injury-riddled anomaly rather than the continuation of a trend. He re-signed Cole Hamels last summer rather than deal him for prospects, traded for 36-year-old Michael Young over the winter to take over third base and signed 34-year-old righty Mike Adams to pitch in front of closer Jonathan Papelbon. And for all that, the Phillies are still no better than the third-best team in their division, one with an aging, fragile roster and a rotation fronted by a $20 million per year pitcher, Roy Halladay. It's time to be realistic: The Phils' core should be rebuilt. Amaro can start by shopping Cliff Lee. The lefthander has three years left on his contract at $25 million per, with an option for 2016. That's a tradable contract in an industry awash in cash and limited in how it can be spent. The Phillies could use an influx of prospects to speed their return to contention. It's a hard move to make, but stubbornly trying to squeeze too much out of an aging core is how you end up as the Astros.
ERIC HARTLINE/US PRESSWIRE (HOWARD)
AL TIELEMANS/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (LEE)