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2014 Outlook: Philadelphia Phillies

Jan 28, 2014, 4:12 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

2013 record: 73-89, 4th place in NL East
Manager: Ryne Sandberg, 2nd season
Estimated 2014 payroll: $160 million
Key additions: OF Marlon Byrd, SP Miguel Gonzalez, C Wil Nieves
Key losses: SP John Lannan, C Erik Kratz

Projected lineup
CF Ben Revere
SS Jimmy Rollins
2B Chase Utley
1B Ryan Howard
RF Marlon Byrd
LF Domonic Brown
C Carlos Ruiz
3B Cody Asche

Projected rotation
LHP Cliff Lee
LHP Cole Hamels
RHP Kyle Kendrick
RHP Miguel Gonzalez
RHP Roberto Hernandez

Top relievers
CL Jonathan Papelbon
LHP Antonio Bastardo
RHP Brad Lincoln

Biggest questions entering 2014
1. Can they stay healthy? The Phillies figure to be one of the oldest teams in baseball once again with players in their mid-30s up and down their roster. In 2013 Howard played in only 80 games, and though Utley managed 131, they could use him for as many games as physically possible. Philly also lacks depth which puts more of an onus on their best players to stay on the field. Health could go a long way in determining how their 2014 season plays out as nearly all of their best players are on the wrong side of 30 with recent injury histories.

2. Will they have enough pitching? The Phillies have one of the best one-two punches at the top of their rotation in Hamels and Lee, but beyond them there are questions. How will Miguel Gonzalez fare in his rookie season? Is Kyle Kendrick a capable No. 3 starter? The back of Philly’s rotation was a major weakness in 2013 and they’ll need some improvement in 2014 to compete for a full season in the NL East.

3. Can Dom Brown repeat his 2013 season? Domonic Brown exploded out of the gate with 15 home runs through the first two months of last season. He cooled off after that, but still put together a solid breakout year with 27 homers, 83 RBI and a .818 OPS. Can Brown, 26, do it again? If so, it would take a huge load off the Phillies’ veterans who could use some days off here and there. The ideal scenario for Philly would be another All-Star season for Brown, easing the pressure on Utley, Howard and Rollins to carry them offensively.

  1. tcostant - Jan 28, 2014 at 4:40 PM

    $160 million doesn’t buy you what it use to…

  2. David Proctor - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:35 PM

    With this news of AJ Burnett returning to pitch, I want Mike Rizzo to explore it. I know we don’t need a starting pitcher, but Rizzo always talks of strengthening a strength. Burnett was one of the best pitchers in the NL the last couple years. Sign him and then move Det to the ‘pen and you’ve easily got the best pitching staff in baseball. It’s an attractive option for Burnett because he wants to be close to his Maryland home and we’re a contender. It’ll also only be a one-year deal, so it doesn’t block anyone long-term.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Jan 28, 2014 at 6:35 PM

      Agree that Mike Rizzo should explore it.

    • scnatsfan - Jan 28, 2014 at 7:43 PM

      I’d rather us sign Baker. I have faith on Detwiler.

      • veejh - Jan 28, 2014 at 10:21 PM

        Why not sign both?

    • tcostant - Jan 29, 2014 at 8:13 AM

      AJ Burnett would cost at least $10M for one season. No thanks.

  3. scnatsfan - Jan 28, 2014 at 10:43 PM

    No need for Burnett imho

    • David Proctor - Jan 28, 2014 at 11:52 PM

      I agree it’s not a need, but it strengthens a strength. Mike Rizzo always touts doing that. And that allows you to put Det in the pen where he could be lethal against lefties.

  4. Section 222 - Jan 28, 2014 at 11:43 PM

    Wait, AJ Burnett is a good pitcher? He was only 10-11 last year. He must be very ordinary.
    :-)

  5. Joe Seamhead - Jan 29, 2014 at 6:13 AM

    I’m not a fan of AJ Burnett.

    As to the Phillies? That organization has been dismantled by the worst general management I can remember in recent years. Rubin Amaro just keeps coming up with new levels of stupid. He has bankrupted their farm system, and in doing so has mortgaged their future for years to come. This group of has beens quite possibly will finish behind the Marlins. That said, they still have Lee and Hamels, so they can still be a pain in the neck in any given series. Also, have I ever mentioned that I’m not too fond of their fan base?

  6. sunshinebobby - Jan 29, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    It’s been an absolute pleasure to watch this franchise — and their skanky fan base — implode the past few seasons. And this year promises to be all that and more. Finishing behind the Marlins is a distinct possibility. It’s going to be wonderful. And just the sight of all those rusted-out 1967 Olds Cutlasses traveling back up I-95 (Or Route 40, if they want to escape the tolls) disappointed warms my heart.

    Ruben Amaro for President!

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 57 47 --
ATLANTA 58 49 0.5
MIAMI 53 53 5.0
NEW YORK 51 56 7.5
PHILADELPHIA 47 60 11.5
Through Tuesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m. TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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