General manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. knows that he must bolster his starting rotation and his bullpen. He also needs to provide soon-to-be permanent manager Ryne Sandberg with quality parts that can upgrade the bench and improve team defense.
Along with each of those pressing needs, the Phillies need to inject a smarter collective plate approach into the regular lineup. Considering investments in the 40-man roster, one has to wonder how the lineup can be changed in 2014?
It might not be correct to assume that all currently designated positional players will be with the team as of next spring. But, Carlos Ruiz, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Cody Asche, Domonic Brown, Ben Revere and Darin Ruf could still be together when the sun rises on opening day.
If those eight names are seen in the lineup during the 2014 season opener, Sandberg's squad could potentially be better than Charlie Manuel's 2013 opening day lineup was. However, hopes tied to good health, ideas that career-type years can be had again and belief in youthful progress will all be based upon conjecture.
'Ryno' has already demonstrated a creatively aggressive offensive approach since taking over in the dugout. However, he needs better equipment to more efficiently manufacture runs and increase overall diamond production.
Next season's won-loss results might hover around the .500 line, which would be better than this season's effort. But, short of making any blockbuster trades (yes, plural), the Phillies' offensive challenges will likely bleed into the new campaign. And that shade of red won't look much different than what's dripping right now.