The Philadelphia Phillies know that health concerns and payroll flexibility are just as important as production and team chemistry. Last season all of those factors were in flux.
A glimpse at this offseason was provided through general manager Ruben Amaro, Junior's trade deadline decisions last summer. He chose to move Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants and Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31. On August 3, he traded Joe Blanton to the Dodgers as well.
Those deals acknowledged that a playoff spot was likely out of reach, payroll had to be pared and youth needed to be infused into various roster spots. After the regular season ended Amaro pursued the same path. As a result, his team appears to be in a stronger position for 2013 and beyond.
The team's core veterans, except for Roy Halladay, are thought to be healthy. Many of the newly obtained Phillies should provide manager Charlie Manuel with the ability to make multiple in-game adjustments this season. Severe limitations in the bullpen and on the bench deeply hampered his moves last year.
The most encouraging development since last summer is that the old “Phillies feeling”, which was based upon a winning attitude, seems to be coming back. As spring training evolves everyone will see if this theory proves to be true.