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The 2014 Phillies Project to Win 70 Games

With players being tendered, non-tendered, traded, and everything in between, the Phillies sit idly with primarily the same roster they had in 2013, adding Marlon Byrd and Miguel Gonzalez and subtracting Roy Halladay. Eric Seidman will go into great depth tomorrow about the Phillies’ curious moves yesterday, but for now, let’s take a look at where the Steamer Projection system has them for 2014.

Line-Up fWAR Steamer Bench fWAR Steamer
C – Carlos Ruiz 3.1 C – Erik Kratz 0.9
1B – Ryan Howard 0.7 INF – Freddy Galvis -0.7
2B – Chase Utley 3.2 INF – Kevin Frandsen -0.3
3B – Cody Asche 1.4 4th OF – John Mayberry Jr. -0.3
SS – Jimmy Rollins 1.9 5th OF – Darin Ruf 0.5
LF – Domonic Brown 2
CF – Ben Revere 1.4
RF – Marlon Byrd 0.8
Rotation Bullpen
SP – Cole Hamels 3.3 RP – Justin De Fratus 0
SP – Cliff Lee 3.8 RP – Jake Diekman 0.1
SP – Kyle Kendrick 1.1 RP – Antonio Bastardo 0.1
SP – Jonathan Pettibone 0.2 RP – Mike Adams 0.3
SP – Miguel Gonzalez 0 RP – BJ Rosenberg -0.1
CP – Jonathan Papelbon 0.4

Add all of those numbers up and you get 23.8 wins above replacement. And what does a team of just replacement players expect to win? 46.74 games. 23.8 + 46.74 = uh oh, 70.24.

*Note: there is one wildcard here – Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. He may be an All-Star or he may not even be a starting pitcher for Philadelphia. I will update this once there is a more defined picture of his talents.

The Phillies will have among the top payrolls in the National League for 2014. Just how hard is it to screw something like this up with that much money?

Here’s a team of 25 players, all players who were non-tendered yesterday. They would be expected to win 9.6 games above replacement, or 56.34 games. All of these players should be available for between $500 K and $1.5 million. If everyone on this team signed for an average of $1 million, you’d have a $25 million payroll.

Line-Up fWAR Steamer Bench: fWAR Steamer
C – J.P. Arencibia 0.8 C – Lou Marson 0.4
1B – Garrett Jones 1.4 INF – Chris Getz 0.2
2B – Justin Turner 0.7 UTL – Jordanny Valdespin 0
3B – Mat Gamel 0.1 4th OF – Derrick Robinson 0
SS – Jayson Nix 0.2 5th OF/Pinch Runner – Francisco Peguero 0
LF – Chris Coghlan 0.6
CF – Ryan Kalish 0
RF – Sam Fuld 0.1
Rotation Bullpen
SP – Jerome Williams 1.9 RP – Ronald Belasario 0.1
SP – Tommy Hanson 1.8 RP – John Axford 0.1
SP – Tyler Cloyd 0.3 RP – Sandy Rosario 0
SP – Scott Atchison 0 RP – Cristhian Martinez 0
SP – Daniel Hudson 0 RP – Ryan Webb 0.2
CP – Andrew Bailey 0.7


With just a little tweaking, this team, spending about $60 million, could likely surpass the Phillies. For instance, if Stephen Drew (2 wins in 2014 for $9 million), Ubaldo Jiminez (2.1 wins for $12 million), Nate McLouth (1.2 wins for $6 million), and Josh Johnson (2.7 wins for his $8 million contract) were signed, said hypothetical team would be putting together a 64 win team. If this hypothetical team were to get a bit crazy and make a splash for Jacoby Ellsbury or Shin-Soo Choo, they’d likely have a team capable of being as good as the Phillies, from scratch, for about $75 million.

Obviously, this could never happen and projections are, well, only projections. Also, there are obviously more than 25 players that play for a team in a given season. In this exercise, we’re assuming the replacement players are truly replacement-level and that they are a net zero. The projections don’t look very good for the Phillies. Their lack of creativity has boxed them in to a situation where this particular simulation, the Steamer Projections, have them only winning 70 games as currently constituted. And as demonstrated, that number is doubly impressive considering you can build a team just as good, from scratch, with players that were cut loose just yesterday and some free agents, for under half the cost.

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