Over the course of 30 days (or so) I will be previewing all 30 MLB teams, followed by an overall season prediction post, leading up to the start of the 2015 season. This post is previewing the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Phillies are coming off consecutive 73-89 seasons and didn’t really improve their team in the offseason, seemingly falling even further behind the other teams in the NL East after finishing in last place a year ago. And trade rumors continue to swirl around ace SP Cole Hamels and veteran closer Jonathan Papelbon.
As you might expect for a team that finished 16 games under .500, the Phillies were below average in both offense and defense last year. They finished the season with the fourth-worst team ERA in the National League (3.79), a number that you would expect to get even worse if they do end up trading Hamels, whose 2.46 ERA was best among all of the team’s starting pitchers.
The team seemed more concerned with trading away players rather than acquiring talent this winter. GM Ruben Amaro traded veteran SS Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers and OF Marlon Byrd to the Reds without getting a major leaguer back in return in either deal. The biggest signings the team made were SP Aaron Harang and P Chad Billingsley, the latter of whom is expected to compete for a spot in the starting rotation. With players like OF Darin Ruf, SS Freddy Galvis and 3B Cody Asche sitting atop the depth chart at their respective positions, you’d expect another below-average offensive year for the Phillies.
With the Phillies already finishing in last place in the NL East last season and other teams — including the defending division champion Nationals — improving their rosters since last season ended, the Phillies seem to have fallen even further behind in the division and it’s likely a last place finish is in the cards for the Phillies again in 2015.