The Phillies’ off-season is heating up and they have shown they are clear sellers. Rollins, Bastardo and Byrd have been traded for four pitching prospects, at least two of which look promising (i.e. a “Top 20 prospect”). Utley (10-and-5 rights), Howard ($60MM owed with declining production), Papelbon ($13MM owed plus clubhouse issues), and Hamels (4-YR/ $95MM left on contract + high asking price) are the biggest names on the trading block this year yet are difficult to trade. Rube, who should be fired but isn’t, used two picks in the Rule 5 draft for promising players and signed several aging veterans to cheap one-year deals (Harang, Sizemore, Williams,
W. Rodriguez) as
we continue to develop the following players: Hernandez, Biddle, Nola, Franco, Neris, Galvis, Crawford,
Morgan (recovery from surgery), Gonzalez, Pettibone (surgery) and
O’Sullivan... and of course, the 2014 Phillies RoYs: Buchannan, Diekman, De
Fratus, Hollands, and (4th in RoY voting) Giles. Cody Asche, Ben Revere, Darin Ruf, and Domonic
Brown will continue to get playing time (I hope all four will) to find out what roles they
can fill down the road. I see many of these guys as five-days-per-week-players. And if you're wondering, yes... we do have players that can spell these guys.
So, this year is all about player development and if these guys develop at the pace the bullpen did last year, then we shouldn’t reach the 100-loss mark. We shall see. It all depends on (1) how smart the Phillies are with the rebuild and playing time, and (2), of course, the players’ performances.
Preliminary Prediction: 62-75 wins... I'm thinking 68 is where we'll be.