Whoa, whoa, whoa. Not so fast.
The Super Bowl sucked. It's still freakin' snowing. And one ESPN analyst ranks the Phillies as the second worst team in all of baseball?
ESPN's Sweet Spot rolled out the first of their MLB team rankings (teams 25-30) by David Schoenfield. The only team he ranks lower than your Philadelphia Phils? The Houston Astros.
Now, I'm not going to write the 2014 season off entirely before a pitch is even thrown, but after reading Schoenfield's take on the Phils, I feel pretty glum. He goes through the moves they've made (Byrd, Alfredo Gonzalez, Chooch), the guys they need more from (Howard), guys who could fall off (Byrd, Utley), and seemingly tries to find a silver lining somewhere:
I'm just the messenger: With Ruiz, Howard, Byrd, Utley and Jimmy Rollins, the Phillies are counting on five regulars in their age-34 seasons or older. Only four teams have had five position players that old bat 400-plus times in a season -- the 1945 White Sox, 1985 Angels and 2002 and 2007 Giants. Hey, it worked for the 2002 Giants, who went to the World Series. But these Phillies don't haveBarry Bonds in the middle of the lineup.
The final word: I can see a scenario where the Phillies could win 85-87 games and sneak into the wild-card picture, but a lot has to go right for that to happen.
Ruben Amaro Jr. expects everything to go just right.