81-81, 3rd in the NL East
After years atop the NL East, the Phillies stubbed their toe in 2012. Picked by many to head back to the playoffs, they finished the season .500 and failed to make the playoffs for the first time in six seasons.
The disappointment comes in two phases. The offense problems were predictable. Carlos Ruiz (5.5 WAR) had a very strong season behind the plate before his offseason suspension and Jimmy Rollins (4.4) provided a lot of value at short. Chase Utley (3.2) was very good, but only played half a season. Shane Victorino’s 2.2 WAR in 101 games was also a good showing, even if he isn’t the player he used to be.
Other than that, the Phillies didn’t get a lot of great offensive contributions and were very average as a team.
Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels had down-ballot Cy Young Type seasons, but Roy Halladay had an injury plagued campaign. Halladay was a solid starter in 2012, but that’s a far cry from his “best in the game” credentials. Vance Worley, Kyle Kendrick, and Joe Blanton combined to fill out the remaining rotation spots and did a respectable job doing so.
Jonathan Papelbon had a good season in the first year of his too-big contract, but the rest of the bullpen struggled. The rotation was top ten, but the bullpen was mediocre.
Collectively, the Phillies were just an average team in a tough division. They played better later on in the season and got some top flight performances from their stars, but not enough to live up to their high expectations.
The rotation is still great heading into 2013 and Ben Revere in center and the-maybe-upgrade of Michael Young at third should give them a boost. Ryan Howard is still a serious problem at first. The corner outfield is still up in the air.
The Phillies should be better in 2013, but they played below their potential in 2012.
2012 Grade: C
Early 2013 Projection: 85-77