Philadelphia Phillies – They push for a Wild Card Berth
The Philadelphia Phillies have been an afterthought team for the past few seasons. Ever since the glow has faded from the World Series victory in 2008, things just haven’t been working for the Phillies. This year is going to prove to be different as their rebuild takes a dramatic step forward and they give the Washington Nationals fits and come close to a Wild Card appearance.
Philadelphia dipped their toes into the free agency market this off-season when they signed former Cleveland Indians first baseman Carlos Santana to a three year contract. They double-dipped and also added former Cubs standout starter, Jake Arrieta. Santana will bring a veteran presence and a big bat to the middle of the order; likewise with Arrieta in the rotation. With pieces like Rhys Hoskins, J.P. Crawford, Odubel Herrera, and a bounce-back season from third baseman Maikel Franco around him, the Phillies offense could quietly be very good.
Breakout candidate Aaron Nola will now not have to lead the pitching staff with Arrieta on board. Past the veteran leadership of Arrieta, the rotation may not be long on experience or consistency to this point. They are brimming with potential and could be better than many realize. The rotation will do just enough to keep them in games, although the offense will have to carry the load. The bullpen is led by Hector Neris and the Phillies will be one of those teams that seems to win a little more than they should. Still, all that matters is how many are in the win column at the end of the season. They won’t be real contenders for at least another season but will show flashes of what’s to come for the Philly faithful.