2014 MLB Team Previews – Phillies
The glory days for this franchise that led to a World Series title in 2008 are becoming a fading memory after posting an 81-81 mark in 2012 and ending last season’s campaign with a losing record of 73-89.
There are still a number of key players on the roster from the Phillies’ last run to the postseason in 2011 and while they will have a new skipper at the helm in a youthful Ryne Sandberg, this team is set to take another step backwards after really showing its age in the second half of the 2013 season.
Sportsbook’s Odds to Win
- NL East +1200
- National League +2000
- World Series +5000
- Regular Season Wins 76
The Phillies brought back outfielder Marlon Byrd, who was with the team from 2002 to 2005 and they added catcher Wil Nieves, but their biggest additions were to the pitching staff.
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AJ Burnett was signed to fill an open spot as a starter and both Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and Roberto Hernandez were also signed as potential additions to the starting rotation.
The biggest loss this offseason was future Hall of Fame pitcher Roy Halladay, who decided to retire after a storied career. The Phillies also parted ways with catcher Erik Kratz and pitcher John Lannan.
Projected Starting Lineup
- Ben Revere (CF)
- Jimmy Rollins (SS)
- Chase Utley (2B)
- Ryan Howard (1B)
- Marlon Byrd (RF)
- Dominic Brown (LF)
- Carlos Ruiz ©
- Cody Asche (3B)
In many of these player’s prime this list would read like an All-Star lineup, but with the exception of Brown and Asche, it is starting to look more and more like a lineup for an Old Timers game.
Both Howard and Rollins are coming off disappointing seasons and there are always health concerns with Utley.
Brown had a breakout season in 2013, so the pressure will be dialed-up to meet some high expectations.
Projected Starting Rotation
- Cliff Lee
- Cole Hamels
- AJ Burnett
- Kyle Kendrick
- Roberto Hernandez
The pressure will also be dialed-up on Lee and Hamels to carry this rotation in the absence of Halladay. Hamels is already nursing a sore shoulder he may not take his place in the rotation until late April.
Burnett should be able to match his 10-11 record from last season and Hernandez could be a steal if he continues to develop after a productive season with Tampa Bay.
Philadelphia still has a solid closer in Jonathan Pabelbon, but it is strapped with a bunch of question marks with the rest of the bullpen. Gonzalez is a solid addition, but do not be surprised to see him in the starting rotation sometime this season.
Brad Lincoln came over in a trade with Toronto, but the overall talent level remains thin at best.
Philadelphia Phillies Prediction:
On paper this team should remain competitive with division front-runners Washington and Atlanta right out of the gate, but the wear and tear of a 162-game season will takes its toll somewhere along the line.
Look for the Phillies to be major sellers after the All-Star break as they will be hard-pressed to even match last year’s win total in another fourth-place finish in the NL East.