There was a time when the Philadelphia Phillies simply spent their way past problems. Believing that they had become the National League's version of the New York Yankees, it seemed as though the option on the penthouse was merely a formality.
The 2008 stock market crash affected society in various ways. 'Rich' people (a highly subjective term that's often rooted in ideology, as much as reality) generally weren't affected by the wipeout because their portfolios were diversified and access to 'insider' information (subjectivity is at the plate again) enabled them to preserve the bulk of their capital.
The team that Ruben Amaro, Jr. inherited from his front office father (Pat Gillick) after the World Series was won had enough 'inventory' (an apt Gillick phrase) to remain competitive for a few more seasons. But, every luxury car needs to be maintained in order to purr.
The past two seasons have proven that the following statement isn't exaggerated: The current Phillies don't hit, or pitch, well, aren't particular effective on the bases and no longer play good defense.
Yes, Ryne Sandberg and his revised coaching staff will attempt to instill a renewed feeling within those red pinstripes. But, he and his dugout colleagues need far more than Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and the aging core of Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and potentially a re-signed Carlos Ruiz, to avoid another sub-.500 finish next year.