The Phillies have a lot of choices to make in this offseason that will severly affect their chances in 2012. Rollins is a free agent, and has already stated that he won't take a "home town discount" when looking for a deal. His ideal deal is a bit higher that the Phillies would like to spend. Hamels also needs a deal, as does Madson, and Oswalt's option will have to be picked up. Now personally, I don't mind letting Oswalt go, however, the Phillies cannot let Hamels go. He has been a great pitcher for this franchise. Madson has established himself as a legitimate closer and will most likely demand a large amount of money.
Ryan Howard, injured on the Phillies last play of the 2011 season, won't be back in the lineup until around June. Even then, who know if he will be the same kind of producer he has been over the past few years. The Phillies need to not only fill the 1B position, but also the outfield positions with Ibanez likely out. These positions will go to John Mayberry, and Dom Brown. Mayberry started to pprove himself, but we have yet to see him play an entire season. Dom Brown has been up and down the past couple years, and has really struggled bioth in the majors and in the minors. This could cause a problem and a hole or two in the Phillies lineup.
Now I have shown you some of the questions that could prevent the Phillies from being the favorite upon entering the beginning of the 2012 season. However, when you look around the National League, there really aren't any teams that scare you. The Brewers will likely lose Prince Fielder, the Cardinals will probably lose Pujols, and the Phillies have taken care of the NL East over the years. The Braves could pose a threat, but I see no reason for the Phillies to miss the Playoffs. (as of now, you never know what could happen in 11 months)
What are your thoughts? Should the Phillies be the favorite to win the World Series? Will they? Who is your favorite to win?