The second half of the MLB season kicks off on Friday and that means it about time to try and look into the future to figure out what the Phillies will do in the final three months of the season. Dash already gave his Five Predictions Sure to Go Horribly Wrong. Here are mine.
1. The Phillies will hop one team in the National League East
Does this somehow sound optimistic? The idea that the Phils could jump either the Mets or the Marlins? That's pretty sad, I guess. But I think they will and they won't end up finishing in last place. That's not, like, a great thing. But if you think that they're going to win the division or make a run in the Wild-Card race in a year as competitive as 2012, you've been getting too excited for the return of Walter White Sunday.
2. Ruben Amaro Jr. realizes the Phillies are sellers
This. Has. To. Happen. Not because the Phillies are almost 15 games out -- they are! -- but because they're a team with a lot of bloated contracts, usable-but-not-ideal talent, and guys in their contract year. Fans don't like to see a team selling off tons of parts, but fans also don't like a consistent loser either. The Phillies have the duel advantage of being able to sell off a bunch of parts and also still have plenty of drawing power thanks to the name value of guys like Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. Speaking of which ...
3. Utley and Howard won't save the offense
I know, I know. They're the great hope, sitting on the sideline, prepped to come in and save Philadelphia's offense from being nothing short of mediocre. But the reality is that both guys are coming off of serious injury and that both guys were already on the decline before that. The two of them will definitely help the offense, but that's by default. The Phils just aren't going to be the scary O that teams used to fear.
4. Cole Hamels dealt, the returns underwhelm, he signs with the Dodgers later
Hey look, the total nightmare situation! But here are the facts: the Phillies have to trade Hamels, the lefty is not the only "ace" on the market, he's a rental player and Clayton Kershaw is oh-so-persuasive. But seriously, Zack Greinke is out there too, which means Hamels isn't the only stud pitcher on the market, even if he's the most desirable. His value is hurt by being a rental player -- the days of handing over a ton of players for a rental aren't the same. And L.A. is perfect for Hamels; style-wise and cash-wise. Sorry.
5. Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee provide a spark of hope
At the age of 35 and with a-still-there-but-definitely-way-in-the-past history of dealing with injuries, there's a lot of concern with how Halladay will bounce back. And Lee has one win! Obviously he's not good right now! (Just kidding, wins are stupid.) In the second half, both pitchers will live up to their potential, picking up some wins for the Phils (and helping them leapfrog another NL East team) and providing some hope for the team heading into 2013.