But, the unknowable direction and quantity of injuries can't truly be projected for any team in any season. Yes, a front office will have to check the co-pays of its employees more often when it has assembled an older roster. But, a deeper factor often comes into play when these issues arise. That factor allows a team to have the flexibility to respond to challenges when they arise.
The unspoken issue that I've referenced is money.
It's natural to form opinions
Anyone who wants to chide a review analysis of what any baseball team has done apparently doesn't live in the real world. Praising what's right and chewing about what's not is part of the flow of this game.
When people invest their emotions in a sport and then specifically in a team, they're naturally going to have opinions about current events. How many people spend time, energy and money on a team they love because they don't care?
From past to present
All hardcore fans knew the Phillies organization was serious about winning as soon as Larry Bowa was hired years ago. That took place before Citizens Bank Park even opened.
The team's supporters also saw that a true chance at a World Series championship was forming because the players who became Charlie Manuel's squad played consistent ball. While 2008 might not have been clearly foreseen as the year of the second blue snow, (with 1980 being the first) Philadelphia's victory over the Tampa Bay Rays wasn't shocking.
Time moves forward though and general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. is now dangerously close to taking this team in one of three directions. The first is somewhere in the middle of up, or down.
He has committed so much money to so few players that it seems as though he has locked himself into a few seasons of going with the flow. That's not good.
It's fair to question whether he should have brought Cliff Lee back, re-signed Jimmy Rollins and given Jonathan Papelbon such a large paycheck. It's also fair to wonder if this team will be able to remain competitive with the Washington Nationals, Miami Marlins, New York Mets and Atlanta Braves within the National League East and with other potential Wild Card colleagues in the months and years to come.
Money doesn't solve every problem
Former general manager Pat Gillick is in the Hall of Fame because he blended the big deal with smart smaller moves. Despite his years of experience under Ed Wade and Gillick, Amaro is still learning how to be the top boss.
In consideration of how high-profile the Phillies have been during his short tenure, it should not come as a surprise that he has had and will continue to have some missteps along the way.
As is the case with many teams, money can sometimes cover mistakes. Then again, throwing too much dough in the wrong direction can also create problems.
The farm system needs to somehow play a major role in any hoped for resurgence. And by that I mean minor league prospects developing into full-time Phillies players.
Amaro has the leeway to right his red pinstriped ship. Time will tell if he displays the ability to actually do so.
Sean O'Brien's professional writing career began in 1990, when he first began working in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system. He was a freelance sports writer for five years and is currently a Featured Contributor for Yahoo! Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
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