The Phillies lost 96 games last season … 5th place in the NL East. It’s not quite rock bottom in the league but it doesn’t leave much more room for more downward travel. Well, you know the old age saying, “there’s only one way to go. Up.”
And thankfully, it looks like the Philadelphia Phillies are already doing exactly that. They had a busy off-season and outworked the rest of the NL East this winter. The fruits of their labor are already showing. When we check trusted online outlet 5Dimes, we see that the Phillies have moved into the middle of the pack as far as their NL East futures are concerned.
The Washington Nationals lead the pack as the odds-on favorites at -300. The New York Mets come in second on the boards at +525, and the Phils are right behind the Mets at +825. The Atlanta Braves are a longshot at +2150 (21.5 to 1) and at +21500 (215 to 1), the Miami Marlins have a target that not even famed long-shooter Chris Kyle couldn’t have hit.
Who’s walked in and who’s hit the bricks
The 2018 Phillies will see the loss of Freddy Galvis, Tommy Joseph, and Hyun-soo Kim. But the new talent coming in outweighs the leaving group. Carlos Santana will take over on 1st base for Joseph and add some much-needed power.
Over the last two seasons, Santana has had an OBP of .356 and dinged 57 home runs and 166 RBI. Last season showed a little bit of regression versus the past 4 seasons as far as RBIs are concerned, but his batting average has held solid at .259. He scored 90 runs last year (the most in his career) and had 148 hits … plus, the power is still there. Carlos Santana will be welcomed addition to the middle of the line-up.
Tommy Joseph’s DFA makes sense. Adding Santana potentially puts up 40 runs more on the scoreboards throughout the season. And though it does cause a few issues with placement of Hoskins and Altherr, the offensive bonus is worth the small defensive question marks.
Jake Arrieta comes on board from the Cubs and while some people talk about regression and the decision to take him on, I say great! He isn’t the pitcher he was a few years ago but he comes at a decent price and is perfect for the rebuilding process. We get a guy who still throws over 160 strikeouts and has a 2.35 and 1.22 ERA & WHIP respectively. He might not be a Cy Young ace in 2018 but he will be a solid starting pitcher that will win games.
Filling out the bullpen are right-handers, Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek. The Phils also signed lefty, Fernando Abad to a minor league deal and he has a legitimate shot at making the roster as well. We should see a nice jump in pitching overall, which will make the Phillies a much tougher team to play against in 2018.
All in all, the Phillies might not be playoff bound just yet, but they could be on their way to a wildcard slot in the near future. The Washington Nationals didn’t get any better this off-season, but they didn’t really get any worse either, so they’ll still rule the roost for the time being.
Like the Phils, the Mets made some big improvements as well and that’s where the battle lies; be better than the Mets in 2018. I put the Phillies at an 83-win season. Sure, it’s just above .500 but it is a far cry better than that 66-win garbage we saw in 2017. I also see the Mets in the low 80s as well. So, these two teams should be neck and neck chasing that number two spot while the Braves and Marlins get pushed even further down the bad team barrel.