Quick thoughts on 2012, starting with the starting pitchers. Look for relievers and position players coming soon. Phillies Nation will also have a more thorough breakdown of each player coming later this month.
-The rotation was never really a problem, it just never lived up to the unreal 2011 season. That was almost impossible. Cliff Lee had one of the best seasons for a guy who finished under-.500. All the talk of him being dealt midseason was garbage and the Phillies are better off with him than without him. It’s a shame he couldn’t get any help from the offense and you could tell it bothered him. His contract is a bit too large, but that’s the price you pay.
–Cole Hamels is a true ace. Think about this: how upset would the fan base be if the Phillies had not locked him up on a long-term contract at the trade deadline? The Phillies came to their senses and made the right move, knowing full well that Roy Halladay is on the downside of an illustrious career and Cliff Lee isn’t getting any younger, either.
-Halladay had a bad year, you all know that. But if you’re asking me my opinion on whether or not he’ll ever fully revert back to the Doc of old, the answer is no. Gone are the days of 2.50 ERA’s and dominating game in and game out. That’s what happens when you hit 36 years old and are worn down like tires on an 18-wheeler. Halladay can certainly still be a very good option, but it would be silly to think he can completely return to form following a shoulder ailment that sapped his abilities this past season. In 2013, if Halladay gives you 14 wins and a 3.30-3.40 ERA, I think everyone would be happy.
–Vance Worley has guts. It takes a lot to pitch through “loose bodies” in the elbow and he did his best, although at times, it probably hurt the team. I fully expect Worley to come back strong next year, as his conditioning was less than ideal in 2012. The Vanimal will have to be a beast in the gym this offseason. Worley also has to work on is his control, as he can’t get deep into games. It can be done.
–Kyle Kendrick is an interesting character in the story of the Phillies. I, for one, completely wrote him off after he struggled mid-year. He was flip-flopped between relief pitcher and starter, but found himself in the second half, posting a 2.87 ERA. I still don’t think he can come close to that over a full season, but if he’s a shade under four in the ERA column and doesn’t hurt your bullpen as a fifth starter, you could do far worse. I’ve never used the words “excited” and “Kendrick” in the same sentence, but here goes: I’m actually excited to see if Kendrick can continue this trend.
–Tyler Cloyd can still be a bottom-of-the-rotation pitcher. He’ll never be great, but at the end of the year, he had to be winded. Cloyd threw exactly 200 innings between Double-A, Triple-A, and the majors. That’s a big jump from 2011 when he maxed out at 146 innings at two minor league levels. Cloyd will show some flashes because his control is normally so good. I don’t think he can make this rotation, but you could do much worse as a sixth man. Unfortunately for him, he’s proven he can pitch in the majors, but there’s no room in Philly right now.