At least the Mets really stink. That is pretty much all I can say about the Phillies competition in the National League East at this point in the offseason. With the signing of Jose Reyes by the Marlins, the NL East has all of a sudden got a lot more interesting. This season will not be nearly as easy for the Phillies as it has been in the past.
As all of the other teams in the NL East are doing everything they can to improve before 2012, Phillies fans are left to just sit back and relax. General manager Ruben Amaro has made huge splashes at the winter meetings every year since taking over for Pat Gillick, so there is still a small chance that something big could happen. Realistically, the biggest thing I can see occurring would be a signing of a player such as Michael Cuddyer or a trade of prospects for a decent middle reliever or bat to platoon in the outfield. This week, the Phils have signed outfielder, Laynce Nix, to a two-year deal. It appears they are satisfied with their current outfield situation. In my opinion, that puts huge faith in the hope that John Mayberry Jr. continues to improve, and I am not fully sold on him yet.
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The way that Miami is going after talent is far from normal. The tradition of building from the farm system and then dumping the great talent instead of paying them, seems to be a thing of the past. With the signing of Heath Bell and Reyes, and the speculation surrounding the pursuit of Albert Pujols, it appears that Miami’s management is finally fully committed to success. It is still up in the air if the fans will actually be as committed as management is and show up to watch the team.
The Nationals have been projected as an up-and-coming team for the past few seasons, but, finally, it seems as though the talent might be able to fulfill expectations in 2012. With young talent at most positions, it is realistic to think that the Nationals might be able to make a run at the older Phillies. Having some competition might actually help the club, though. Maybe it was just me, but it seemed as though the recent success has taken a little fire out of the run down the stretch for the Phils.
In 2007, the chase of the then-NL east champion Mets made for an energy that did not seem to be around last year. The new infusion of talent in the division may, in fact, make the Phillies a better team. Then again, maybe something big is still going to happen for the Phillies this offseason. I guess we will just have to wait and see. Maybe Ruben will put something great under the Phillies Christmas tree once again this year.