Remember when you went to that 25th high school reunion and thought, “boy, he sure got old”? That’s the 2014 Philadelphia Phillies. Their window hasn’t just closed. It’s been bricked over. The Phillies have become an aging team with a bloated payroll. The average age of a Philadelphia player is 30.5 years old. Only the Red Sox are older. In contrast, the Reds sit in the middle of the pack, with an average ballplayer age of 28.4. With a payroll of $180M, the Phillies rank 3rd in MLB, with only the Dodgers and Yankees spending more. Citizens Bank Park is aptly named–at least from the players point of view.
Just as Reds fans worry about Billy Hamilton, so do Philly fans worry about Ben Revere. In 36 games this year, Revere has hit .268 with an OBP of .284. He’s last in the majors in walk rate, having only walked 3 times in 138 at bats. Revere has no power to speak of and is a below average defender.
Just as Reds fans worry about what the age curve and the effect it will have in bringing about the declining skills of Brandon Phillips will bring, Philly fans have already arrived at that destination with regard to Jimmy Rollins. Rollins has lost most of his range in the field and is not the player he once was.
Just as Reds fans have worried about Joey Votto’s knee, so have Philly fans had to deal with the possibility that the achilles heel injury two years and a torn miniscus last July will take it’s toll on Ryan Howard‘s power numbers as time goes on, assuming he can even remain healthy.
Just as Reds fans worry about the ceiling for Hamilton, so do Philly fans worry about Domonic Brown, whose star has dimmed, as opposing pitchers seem to have figured him out and he hasn’t made the requisite adjustment at the plate.
Just as the Reds worry about Homer Bailey’s new contract and slow start, so do Philly fans have the same concerns about Cole Hamels.
And just as Reds fans lament seeing Ramon Santiago come off the bench, mention the name John Mayberry, Jr., and you will get a similar response from Philadelphia fans.
Chase Utley still plays at a very high level–when he’s healthy.
The bench consists of Cesar Hernandez, John Mayberry, Jr., Reid Brignac, Cesar Hernandez and Wil Nieves.
The Phillies are next to last in team pitching. Their starters are 11th in the NL with a 3.95 ERA, and an xFIP at 3.68, compared to the Reds starters, who possess a sparkling 2.92 ERA and a 3.59 xFIP. Cole Hamels has been a Reds-killer. On Sunday, he threw 133 pitches in 7 innings against the Mets. It will be interesting to see what kind of stuff he has when he faces the Reds on Saturday. Hamels began the season with shoulder tendonitis. It makes you wonder why they would leave him out there for so long. But manager Ryne Sandberg is an old school guy. Good luck with that.
The Philly starters rank 11th in the NL, while the Reds rank 2nd, only behind the Braves. The Reds will miss A.J. Burnett, the former Pirate pitcher this time around. Burnett has the best ERA of all Philly starters, but xFIP and SIERA say that Cliff Lee is the best starter on the staff, hands down.
By all accounts, the Phillies would love part ways with closer Jonathan Papelbon, as both sides have become disenchanted with one another. Every year since 2011, Papelbon’s velocity has been in decline. But, finding a suitor for Papelbon and his contract likely keeps him tethered in Philadelphia for the foreseeable future. The rest of the bullpen consists of Jake Diekman, Antonio Bastardo, Mario Hollands, Jeff Manship and Mike Adams.