(6) and second basemanChase Utley
(26) watch during a pitching change against the Detroit Tigers at Bright House Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
#5- Philadelphia Phillies – 2014: 73-89, last in the National League East
With the trade of Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers, the stripping down of the core of the team that won the 2008 World Series has begun, as the Phillies are trying to create a new identity for the future. Rumors will continue on possible deals for Hamels, Utley, Jonathan Papelpon, and PLEASE, SOMEONE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD TAKE RYAN HOWARD until they have moved on. Until then, they’ll be a part of a team that doesn’t look to be very good.
How it can go right: If this were 2010, the Phillies would have a solid rotation. Then again, that’s something you could say for their entire roster, but let’s focus on the positives. Granted, there aren’t a lot of positives.
Back to the rotation, they’re going to need a trip back to 2010 from their starters to have any chance of being competitive. Hamels will help stop the bleeding, as he’s the workhorse of the rotation. Of course, this is until he possibly gets traded. Harang, Williams, and Billingsley need to reach back a few years to help contribute.
How it can go wrong: Aside from when the umpire says “PLAY BALL!” on Opening Day? For a franchise that was mortgaging the future for championship success, they are now paying for that with aging stars on bad contracts eating at bats that could be going to youngsters. The offense was 6th worst in runs scored in the NL, while the pitching staff gave up the 4th most runs in the league, so there’s not a lot to be optimistic about.
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First month (or so) of games: Boston (3), Washington (3), @Mets (3) @Washington (4), Miami (3) Atlanta (3), @St. Louis (4)
Kill April with fire.
If you’re looking for the Phillies to jump out to a surprising good start, well you’ll REALLY going to be surprised with the way the schedule starts out. Philadelphia gets 11 games against the Nationals and Cardinals, three more against an improved Red Sox team, and six with sleeper teams like the Marlins and Mets that makes this month a buzz-saw for a Phillie team looking to 2016.
Win/Loss Predication: 69-93. This season will be filled with pain and suffering for Phillie fans, as the future isn’t now for them. Things should get worse with possible deals for Hamels, Papelpon, and Utley looming, so it’s important that the returns for any of those players brings back something in the way of useful prospects to help with the rebuilding.
Next: Atlanta Braves