Strengths: Dominic Brown has stepped up and looks like he could be a real star for the Philadelphia Phillies for years to come. There, the strengths have been covered. Ok, maybe a bit of a pessimistic look at the team. They do still have Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee at the top of the rotation and Jonathan Papelbon to close out games. It also looks like Darin Ruf will be able to be a solid bat.
Weaknesses: Roy Halladay is gone, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard aren’t the Rollins, Utley, and Howard that were at the heart of the team that dominated the NL East for years. They have no big league starters currently on their roster that are legit big league starters behind Lee and Hamels and their long time backstop Carlos Ruiz is a free agent. Cody Asche looked good late in the season at third, but he does not appear to be the future of at that position.
Off-Season Needs: The Phillies need to accept the fact they are no longer contenders and are in a rebuilding mode. Ryan Howard has a contract that makes him impossible to move, but if they can make a deal to add high minors prospects for Utley and/or Rollins, it is time to make those moves. Maikel Franco is the likely future at third base and could be on the big league roster this year, and Jesse Biddle is a legit pitcher who could break camp with the big league team, but those are really the only impact prospects that are anywhere close to big league ready. The Phillies need to add cheap veterans to fill roles this year, and make deals to bring in some young talent, otherwise they will keep the cellar warm for years.
2014 Projection: If the Phillies are not drafting in the top 10 in 2015 I will be shocked. They are the worst team in the East and they should lose 90 games in 2014.