Some people have convinced themselves that Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Roy Halladay will bounce back and have healthy, productive years; that Michael and Delmon Young will provide cheap, adequate power in the middle of the order; that somehow, through a combination of willful ignorance and changing the channel, the Phillies' defense will work itself out.
Those of us with far less optmistic worldviews had our fears confirmed when Sports Illustrated released the team's off-season report card and saw a big red "D."
"Though the trade for Revere gives the Phillies a cost-controlled centerfielder to grow on, they’ve taken steps backward with most of their other moves," the article states. "[The Phillies] are more likely to repeat last year’s middling showing than contend in a division where the Nationals and Braves have upgraded in impressive fashion."
Sure, this was just one media outlet's opinion. But by using "information" and "facts" to back their arguments, SI painted an inarguably hideous picture of Amaro's winter tinkering.
On Delmon Young: "The money is inconsequential enough, but it looks like an overpay for a player who hit .267/.296/.411 with 18 homers last year with a −0.9 Wins Above Replacement Player mark even while being limited to just 31 games in the field, all of them in left."
On Michael Young: "He’ll take over third base in place of Polanco, who to be fair is a year older and about half as durable, but at least able to do something besides imitate a matador at the hot corner."
On Ben Revere: "Amaro did actually acquire some youth in the form of speedy 24-year-old center fielder Ben Revere, who stole 40 bases last year but hit a thin .294/.333/.342 with just 19 extra-base hits..."
Perhaps there are others in the media who took a more sympathetic angle, or were at least not paying as much attention.
"[The Phillies' defense] Could be comically bad. Howard? Michael Young? Delmon? Domonic Brown? My lord." [David Schoenfield, ESPN]
"I get why the Phillies think they can still compete. I don't get why they're punting half of their defense and adding more offensive question marks to a growing pile." [Grant Brisbee, Baseball Nation]
"Amaro might have been wise to pass up on overpaying for an outfielder, but unless Young bounces back into the player who led the American League in hits and finished eighth in MVP voting in 2011, a sizable hole remains in the middle of the lineup." [Ryan Lawrence, The Daily News]
"It has been a different kind of offseason for the Phillies, and it's impossible to say that they caught the Nationals and Braves based on where the teams finished last season and what they've done this offseason." [Bob Brookover, Inquirer]
"On paper, it seems the Phillies will once again be unable to contend with the two teams they finished behind in the standings last season. While the Braves and Nationals got better, it’s hard to argue that the Phils did the same." [Phillies Nation]
At least one man has both faith in the Phillies and the means to share his opinion with a large audience.
"I better not say a whole lot about it, but at the same time I know Ruben is really working hard and trying to improve our ballclub, and anything that goes down I think will help us." [Charlie Manuel]
Of course, that was back around Christmas. According to Sports Illustrated, the Phillies' GPA has taken a few hits since then.