Over at FanGraphs, Tony Blengino uses Steamer projections to predict the NL East. Blengino breaks down individual components of Steamer – in almost all of the categories, the Phillies finish last, including batting OBP, SLG, and BB% as well as pitching OBP, SLG, and BB% while finishing last in the division in projected defense.
In Blengino’s analysis, he calls the Phillies the “This is Rock Bottom” club, citing the club’s subtraction of Antonio Bastardo, A.J. Burnett, Marlon Byrd, and Jimmy Rollins and the possibility of the club dealing Cole Hamels and the question mark that is Cliff Lee. There is a slight insinuation on Blengino’s piece that the Phillies will need to deal Hamels and Lee before truly being able to start going upward again, a sentiment that Keith Law agrees with in an ESPN Insider-Only piece.
In some regards, Law argues less that the Phillies need to deal Hamels to bounceback but rather that the club would maximize its return for Hamels by dealing him now. Law summarizes this best in his final paragraph:
ItÃ¢ÂÂs brave talk for the Phillies to say they can just keep Hamels, but thereÃ¢ÂÂs no real logical reason for them to do that. He was one of the best pitchers in baseball last year and they finished in last place with him fronting their rotation, and they are probably destined to be bad in 2015 and 2016; by the time they have enough player ammunition to climb the NL East again, Hamels will be in last months of his deal, in his mid-30s and probably in decline. They should use him to fuel their reconstruction, but they need to do it sooner, rather than later, because in the eyes of rival evaluators, his market value can never be higher than it is right now and will only go down.ÃÂ
Unless the Phillies deal Hamels to an NL East rival, Steamer projects the following NL East standings for 2015: