Can Philadelphia Phillies Get Back to Playoffs?

Season ends with Philadelphia Phillies not in playoffs for first time in over half a decade. Can team bounce back to winning ways in 2013?

The Philadelphia Phillies 2012 season ended with a thud.

They watched the Washington Nationals celebrate winning the NL East crown, a crown that the Phillies wore for the past half dozen years.

Those were the days my friends...

This year, the Phils floundered, crippled by injuries and inconsistency. It wasn't until after the All-Star break that the Phillies got a shot in the arm, a shot of youth that helped the club make a playoff Wild Card run that eventually fell short.

So where do the Phillies go from here? And can the team bounce back to its winning ways in 2013?

We know what the needs are in free agency: A third basemen, a better bullpen, a centerfielder and maybe another power-hitting outfielder.

Let's take at 10 players (and the manager) and what their outlook for 2013 is:

Charlie Manuel -- The manager certainly did a solid job of getting the team play well after the All-Star break. He deserves another year, but could get a quick hook out of the gate for Ryne Sandberg if the Phils don't start well.

Chase Utley -- The veteran needs to get to spring training healthy. If his knees are intact, Utley could regain that power stroke. He's the heart and soul of the team.

Jimmy Rollins -- The Phils usually roll as J-Roll rolls. He put up solid numbers but there were bumps in the road. You can't see J-Roll in another uniform but you never know. But it would be hard to write his name again in the leadoff spot next year.

Ryan Howard -- The Big Fella needs to get healthy, cut back on his strikeouts and become the homerun monster of years past. His bat is the team's biggest threat. Howard needs to become an MVP threat again.

Dominic Brown -- Brown deserves a nod to start in right field next year. He's proven that he can play at a Major League level. Dom was also showing signs of life with some power and some great outfield play. Maybe 2013 is his year?

Roy Halladay -- The former Cy Young award winner had a rough season, riddled with injuries. 2013 is a big test for Halladay. Is he done or heading toward the end of his career or can he return to domination again? The Phils need him to anchor its starting rotation.

Cole Hamels -- Hamels put up a Steve Carltonesque-type year. Can he do it again? Hamels is taking the torch from Halladay as the anchor of the starting rotation. Is he among the elite? Another year would prove it, and also prove that paying him a big contract was worth it.

Cliff Lee -- It's like The Clash song "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" Lee had some decent games, and then some awful ones. He's better than that. Maybe 2012 was just cursed. Sometimes a pitcher has one of those years. If Lee stays, he could be the key for the Phils' playoff hopes.

Darrin Ruf -- Could this be a jewel? Is "Babe Ruf" for real. Ruf was a Minor League sensation this past year, putting up homerun numbers not seen before Ryan Howard's best years. Ruf came up late and showed a power stroke. If he can play left field decently and show that muscle, he could be a big bat in the Phillies lineup.

Carlos Ruiz -- He's one of the best defensive catchers in baseball. This past year, Ruiz emerged as a top hitter and showed power figures never seen by him before. Was that just a mirage? Is Ruiz a true hitter and can he be counted on next year to carry the team if needed?

David Franklin October 07, 2012 at 11:47 AM
They got old, quickly. The Phillies can't make it back to the post-season with a roster of part-time players or players that keep breaking down. They need a major overhaul in order to compete over 162 games for a division title/playoff position.
Mike Shortall Sr October 07, 2012 at 11:07 PM
How will you replace those 30 HRs and 120 RBIs that - with the exception of this year - Howard has produced in 5 consecutive years?
Mike Shortall Sr October 07, 2012 at 11:11 PM
That's why they have off-seasons. The bullpen was much improved with the younger arms they brought up in the second half. And "average" 4th & 5th starters are not necessarily bad things, especially when your other 3 starters are are significantly above average.
careless fills October 11, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Whats with all the EX-phillies hiitng game winning HR's in the playoffs?
Gucci Belt October 29, 2012 at 09:04 AM
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