My quick thoughts on the 2012 offense. Phillies Nation will also have a more thorough breakdown of each player coming later this month.
-You must begin with what wasn’t. Ryan Howard and Chase Utley were not ready for the beginning of the 2012 season, and both missed extended time nursing their injuries. Upon their return, it was Utley who looked miles ahead of Howard in terms of their bat and physical fitness. That was to be expected with Howard unable to do much cardio in the offseason while riding around on a jazzy scooter with his leg bearing no weight. It put a damper on the early part of the season, offensively speaking, and the Phillies never recovered. Would it have made a difference had they both been healthy the entire season? Perhaps.
-We can look back and positively say that the Placido Polanco signing was a failure. That’s not Polanco’s fault, either, as he was coming off a few big seasons in Detroit before coming to Philadelphia. The reason it was a terrible move was the length of the contract. Polly had one-half of a good season when he first got here in 2010, never staying healthy enough to be worth the three-year, $18 million deal Ruben Amaro gave him. Put the blame on Amaro, not Polly. He played in just 90 games this past season and now the Phillies will be searching widely for a third baseman this offseason.
-Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence weren’t bad if you peer their overall numbers. Certainly Victorino had a down year as the contract stuff got in his head, and Pence ended up with 104 RBI this year, a career high. They just never came through in the clutch in 2012 while with the Phillies and both were moved at the deadline, a smart move by Amaro.
-Unfortunately, the Jim Thome signing was a terrible move by Amaro. No one honestly believed the guy could play first base 1-2 times a week. He couldn’t and he was gone. Honestly, it was awesome seeing him return for a short stint, but it just wasn’t a wise allocation of funds. Also, Laynce Nix was a bust. He missed what seemed like the entire season with a calf strain and gave the Phillies just 3 home runs total on the season, even with those biceps. A .154 average and zero homers as a pinch hitter is the exact opposite of what the Phillies needed. He’s owed $1.35 million next year.
-Just how bad was the Phillies bench overall? Pinch-hitters put up a hilarious .560 OPS, 13th out of 16 NL teams. They managed only 10 extra-base hits. It will need to be revamped yet again.
-Jimmy Rollins. Was he bad? Not fully, but the amount of infield pop ups Rollins had in 2012 was inconceivable. As per Corey Seidman, he finished with 42 infield flyouts, by far the most in the National League. For context, Dan Uggla was second with 28. That’s an absurd about. He needs to work on that because so many of those plate appearances were wasted by looking skyward. Mike Moustakas led the AL with 39 IFFB’s. Joe Mauer had one all season. One. Work on that Jimmy.
-Jimmy Rollins was great defensively. His .250 average at the end of the year doesn’t look pretty, but he did provide some excellent streaks where was unstoppable. Jimmy’s 23 home runs led the team, and they certainly needed that power output. His 30 stolen bases were welcomed, too.
-Carlos Ruiz had an incredible season – no other way to put it. Chooch bulked up in the offseason and was a injury away from being a legit MVP candidate. Not only can he call a game with the best of ‘em, but his offense helped guide the Phillies this year. Here’s to hoping there is more where that came from.
-Juan Pierre was a diamond in the rough. Left for dead on the open market, he found a nice niche in Philly as a guy who would play whenever and as much as needed. He’s also one of the nicest guys in the locker room, always willing to chat. He hit .307 and stole 37 bases on a cheap, one-year deal. You can’t ask for much more than that.
-Kevin Frandsen was also a diamond in the rough. He’ll be on the bench net season, no doubt about it. Is he an everyday guy? Probably not, but he deserves more of a look.
-As Corey Seidman put it in our latest taping of Phillies Nation TV, Darin Ruf did more in three weeks than Domonic Brown has done in three years with the Phillies. Maybe a stretch, but you get the point. The Babe burst onto the scene in the minors after hitting 39 home runs. With the Phillies he had six extra-base hits in just 37 at-bats. He might not be a star in the making, but he appears to have the tools to be a pretty good player, although the jury is obviously still out considering it’s such a small sample size. Regardless, cool to see him to so well when given the opportunity.
-Erik Kratz also made the most of his opportunity, seizing the backup catcher role when Brian Schneider got hurt (again). Kratz will be the back up next season, too, after he proved to be a power bat off the bench that Charlie Manuel could also trust as a starter. When Chooch got hurt, Kratz logged a lot of innings behind the plate and did well, although he faded a bit at the end of the long year.
-We still don’t know about Dominic Brown. He showed flashes of being a really good everyday player, and then in the same game would show you that maybe the Phillies have overvalued him a bit. Brown still only has 492 plate appearances, less than a full seasons worth, in his career. There is still plenty of time.
-Freddy Galvis can play the field, no doubt. It’s the bat we don’t know about. He had a few big moments with the stick before fracturing his back, yet there are still so many questions about what he can do in the majors. Add that to his suspension for PED’s and who the hell knows.
-John Mayberry Jr. is not an everyday player. It still appears that given the right circumstances, he can be an excellent backup. But I think the ship has sailed on him being a 162-game-guy.
-Michael Martinez should not be anywhere near the Phillies next year. That’s no knock on him, he’s just not a major leaguer.
-And we don’t really know much about Nate Scheirholtz. Seems like an end of the bench guy, nothing more, nothing less. Just hard to get a read after he missed time with an injury. Could play a bench role in 2013.