The Phillies as we know are completely in rebuild mode and have shipped off most of it’s core that led the team to the World Series championship in 2008. Only Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz remain from one of the best Phillies teams in franchise history. It’s very likely Ryan Howard will still be in a Phillies uniform next year, seeing that his contract isn’t very attractive for the Phillies to have any luck moving him. The Big Piece has one year left on his contract with a $23 million club option for 2017 and also a $10 million buyout option in 2017. It’s very unlikely the Phillies will pick up that club option, but having Howard on the team in 2016 will be a good thing because he’s always had a good attitude and could be a big help to the young players. Ruiz will also be on the team next year as he heads into the last year of his contract extension that made very little sense when the Phillies gave it to him in 2013. The decline in Ruiz’s game has been quite visible, but again having him on the team will not be a bad thing because like Howard, Ruiz is knowledgeable and is a very good mentor. Going away from Ruiz and Howard, it’s time to dive into the rest of the Phillies starting with the positions players.

Starting Lineup

CF Odubel Herrera

LF Darnell Sweeney

RF Aaron Altherr

3B Maikel Franco

C Cameron Rupp

2B Cesar Hernandez

1B Darin Ruf

SS Freddy Galvis

Bench

Ryan Howard

Carlos Ruiz/Erik Kratz

Cody Asche

Kelly Dugan

Jeff Francoeur

The Phillies lineup will not look too much different from last year as a lot of the team’s high-rated prospects arrival times align more with late 2016 or 2017, though we could see some of them in September. Darin Ruf probably will not start every game at first base and a platoon with Ryan Howard could definitely be a possibility. Darnell Sweeney, who the Phillies received for Chase Utley, will definitely make the team, but with the season Cesar Hernandez put up, Sweeney won’t be able to take second base. Phillies are higher on Cody Asche than they are on Dom Brown so he  might be out of the job and Kelly Dugan could step in to take his spot on the team. It wouldn’t be a total surprise if the Phillies bring back Francoeur for another year, he’s done great job in his role this year and he’s someone you want to have around in the clubhouse with a team so young. There’s an asterisk next to Carlos Ruiz because he might not be lock for back up catcher with Erik Kratz being back in pinstripes and has played real we’ll earning himself a September call-up. Keep in mind this is just a projection and it doesn’t completely factor in free agency.

Rotation

Aaron Nola

Jerad Eickhoff

Adam Morgan

Alec Asher/Jesse Biddle

Mark Buehrle

Jerome Williams, Aaron Harang, and Chad Billingsley will be off the team with their one-year contracts up and it wouldn’t make much sense for the Phillies to bring any of them back. The only locks in this rotation are Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff. Alec Asher and Adam Morgan have a solid shot to make it, but David Buchanan and Jesse Biddle will also be in competition for a spot. None of those four guys will have a spot permanently because there is a ton of talented pitchers down in the minors and some them could be here sometime in 2016. Mark Buehrle is added in there because with a young staff you’re going to need a veteran pitcher or two to help guide the young arms in the right direction and Buehrle would be a great fit for the Phillies.

Bullpen

Elvis Araujo

Mario Hollands

Luis Garcia

Colton Murray

Jeanmar Gomez/Justin De Fratus

Dalier Hinojosa

Ken Giles

Ken Giles will no doubt be the closer for sure and will head a relatively young bullpen. Elvis Aarujo impressed this year before hurting his groin so he should have no problem making the team then the other lefty in the pen will be Mario Hollands. Hollands had a decent rookie year in 2014, but has missed all of 2015, recovering from Tommy John Surgery. He should be good to go for 2016 and would certainly be a good help in the bullpen. Luis Garcia has been inconsistent at times this year, but he has nasty stuff and should be a solid setup man after fine-tuning some things. Colton Murray did a wonderful job in Triple-A this season, earning him a September call-up and don’t be surprised if he makes the roster in 2016. Dallier Hinojosa may or not be back next year, but he has good stuff and he wouldn’t be the worst thing. Jeanmar Gomez and Justin De Fratus are kind of interchangeable because both of their contracts are up, but the Phillies should bring one of them back and after the season De Fratus has had, it should be Gomez. Though Phillies could bring back both for depth reasons, but it will not be a big deal.

2016 will be a lot of the same for the Phillies and the win total probably will not change or get any better. There will be some things to look forward to like a full season of Maikel Franco and Aaron Nola, plus there will be a lot of prospects coming in sometime in 2016. Bottom line is the Phillies Phaithful will have to hold on tight for another year and make it to 2017 where the real magic will begin.

 

 

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