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Papelbon Wrong About 2012

Since I have been here, I haven’t seen any leadership

Jonathan Papelbon, February 21, 2013

I wish I could have written about this quote sooner. But, to be honest, I don’t think there is much to say; I believe Papelbon’s misspoke during a period of quick reflection. A reflection on a season’s worth of disappointments that are understandable when compared to the high expectations the Phillies had entering 2012.

While his comments may have been understandable, that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t entirely wrong. Dead wrong.

Listen, any team that had won the last five division titles has leaders. The 2012 Phillies met that description and then some. Twice a World Series participant, once a winner, in those five years, someone must have been guiding the Phillies. There were more than a few constants from those five years who returned for 2012: Charlie Manuel, Rich Dubee, Carlos Ruiz, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels, Kyle Kendrick, and Shane Victorino all entered the 2012 as Phillies who had been there from the beginning of their playoff run. So what gave in 2012? It’s pretty obvious to me. Follow the jump for some beautiful visual evidence.

Injuries weren’t the whole story but they were a much larger part than leadership. While I don’t think the Phillies were a better team than the Nationals, they would have finished much closer to the Braves and made the second Wild Card competitive if they were completely healthy in 2012.

I can’t imagine there would be a leadership dearth starting the season with seven players left from the 2008 championship team, most of the previous year’s 102-win team on the roster, a pair of Cy Young winners, two MVPs, and several former All-Stars, but I suppose I could be wrong. But I think Papelbon was the one who was wrong here.

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