Ruben Amaro Thinks the Phillies Can Make A Run at the NL East Crown in 2014
PECOTA, from Baseball Prospectus, projects the Phillies to finish at 76-86. FanGraphs puts them at 77-85. Atlantis, a sportsbook based in Reno, puts the over-under on the Phillies’ win total at 78. Ask any random baseball fan you see on the street how many games the Phillies will win in 2014, and their answer is likely to fall in the 70-80 range. Could we all have it wrong?
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, GM Ruben Amaro thinks his team can make a run at the NL East crown, and subsequently the World Series, in 2014.
“Listen, I don’t want to be foolhardy,” Amaro tells USA TODAY Sports, “but I do believe we have the talent to make a run at the National League East this year. And if we’re making a run at the National League East, it puts us in position to win the World Series.”
I’m not a betting man, but if I were, I’m taking the under on them winning 80 games. That keeps them far enough out of the playoff picture as to be a non-factor.
The above quote was given in the larger context of the Phillies being old, expensive, and ineffective, which has caused many to suggest they ought to build for the future. Based on what Amaro and team president David Montgomery said, it seems like a strawman.
Montgomery said, “when people talk about rebuilding, they almost make it sound like it’s an either/or. Well, you’ve got to be in position to rebuild.”
Amaro said, “I cannot look at our fans in the face and say, ‘You know what guys, we’re going to blow it up. We’re going to be (garbage) for the next four or five years. But we will be back.”
Maybe I’m in the minority, but I haven’t heard anyone suggest the Phillies should follow the Astros down the total rebuild road. It doesn’t make sense for the Phillies in the context of their present roster construction nor in the context of good business. Even if fans don’t understand the business side of it, they don’t want to watch a team lose close to 100 games annually with a future hope of success. So who has called for a total rebuild, I don’t know.
Many have suggested that the team needs to “get younger”, but that phrase does not imply a rebuild. Many have suggested they shouldn’t get involved with expensive free agents. That, also, does not imply rebuilding. Like Montgomery said, it’s not an “either/or”. You can set your organization up better for the future while still remaining relatively competitive. And to the Phillies’ credit, that’s what they’ve done this off-season, for which I’ve given them their due praise.