After setting a franchise record for wins in 2011, the Philadelphia Phillies struggled to an 81-81 record in 2012 and missed out on the playoffs. They responded to the difficult season by firing three coaches, and they've already promoted Ryne Sandberg to the Major League staff as a replacement.
The team struggled when Chase Utley and Ryan Howard missed large amounts of time with injuries, and they also had to rely on starting pitching cover from Triple-A Lehigh Valley for large portions of the season. This had the Phillies in a big hole at the All-Star break, and a second-half run was not enough to get them back to the postseason.
Ruben Amaro Jr. spoke to the media on Thursday afternoon about the team's disappointing performance during the season, and had the following to say, via CSN Philly:
"Obviously you can’t cover for all the things that happened as far as injuries and stuff are concerned, but I guess we probably could have done a little bit better job in the bullpen. You know, we were relying on some guys who had success, and after having lost four of those guys during the course of the early part of the year, it was a little tough for us to recover. That’s something that I regret a little bit … and then we gave opportunities to guys who we thought would step up and be able to handle certain areas, especially and specifically offensively. It’s hard to cover for two guys in the middle of our lineup who aren't going to be back for some significant period of time. I wish we could have recovered a little bit better from that."
Amaro will need to shore up several areas of the Phillies roster during the offseason, and while he didn't get into what he's specifically looking to upgrade, he has acknowledged that he may need to get creative in order to do so:
"We have to keep our minds open on some things that we can do that will help us get back to where we want to be, and that’s be in the World Series. We’re going to have to be kind of creative if we can be. I don’t know how creative I can be, but we’ll try."
What kind of payroll Amaro will have to work with is not clear, but the team already has a little over $133 million committed for 2013.