2014 Outlook: Philadelphia Phillies

2014 Outlook: Philadelphia Phillies
January 28, 2014, 3:45 pm
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2013 record: 73-89, 4th place in NL East
Manager: Ryne Sandberg, 2nd season
Estimated 2014 payroll: $160 million
Key additions: OF Marlon Byrd, SP Miguel Gonzalez, C Wil Nieves
Key losses: SP John Lannan, C Erik Kratz

Projected lineup
CF Ben Revere
SS Jimmy Rollins
2B Chase Utley
1B Ryan Howard
RF Marlon Byrd
LF Domonic Brown
C Carlos Ruiz
3B Cody Asche

Projected rotation
LHP Cliff Lee
LHP Cole Hamels
RHP Kyle Kendrick
RHP Miguel Gonzalez
RHP Roberto Hernandez

Top relievers
CL Jonathan Papelbon
LHP Antonio Bastardo
RHP Brad Lincoln

Biggest questions entering 2014
1. Can they stay healthy? The Phillies figure to be one of the oldest teams in baseball once again with players in their mid-30s up and down their roster. In 2013 Howard played in only 80 games, and though Utley managed 131, they could use him for as many games as physically possible. Philly also lacks depth which puts more of an onus on their best players to stay on the field. Health could go a long way in determining how their 2014 season plays out as nearly all of their best players are on the wrong side of 30 with recent injury histories.

2. Will they have enough pitching? The Phillies have one of the best one-two punches at the top of their rotation in Hamels and Lee, but beyond them there are questions. How will Miguel Gonzalez fare in his rookie season? Is Kyle Kendrick a capable No. 3 starter? The back of Philly's rotation was a major weakness in 2013 and they'll need some improvement in 2014 to compete for a full season in the NL East. 

3. Can Dom Brown repeat his 2013 season? Domonic Brown exploded out of the gate with 15 home runs through the first two months of last season. He cooled off after that, but still put together a solid breakout year with 27 homers, 83 RBI and a .818 OPS. Can Brown, 26, do it again? If so, it would take a huge load off the Phillies' veterans who could use some days off here and there. The ideal scenario for Philly would be another All-Star season for Brown, easing the pressure on Utley, Howard and Rollins to carry them offensively.