5 Players Guaranteed to Return for 2014 Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies: 5 Guaranteed Players to Return in 2014
Philadelphia Phillies fans everywhere are staring down the barrel of a long offseason. This offseason has more questions than solutions at the current time. No one really knows what is going to happen, especially with Ruben Amaro Jr. at the helm. Amaro has made one thing extremely clear for everyone. To him, the young guys are not “slam dunks.”
In an interview with Comcast SportsNet, Amaro said he could not see the young players as everyday starters, which means we can expect to see a lot of changes to the 2014 roster. A lot of the new guys have impressed in the time they have been given at the end of this terrible season. Despite how they may have looked, the young players could be playing in new uniforms or go back to the minors come next season.
So whom can we expect to see next season? That one is easy. There are a few players who are locks or should be locks for next year. Some notable pitcher mentions that are not on the list include Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Jonathan Pettibone. Those three will definitely return next season. The biggest question marks include Darin Ruf, Cody Asche and Cameron Rupp. These players have been given a shot and showed promise for the most part. The issue is what king Amaro wants on his team.
He has made it very clear that he is searching for what he thinks will help make the team contenders. This could cause some problems for new manager Ryne Sandberg. At least Sandberg will have these guys to help keep the Phillies fighting.
5. Carlos Ruiz
In 91 games this season, Carlos Ruiz hit .269 with five home runs. It was his lowest batting average since 2009 when he hit .255 in 107 games. Yes, he has seemed less sharp behind the plate since he was penalized for taking Adderall, but he still is the teams’ best choice for behind the plate. Nothing against Cameron Rupp, but he is not a big league catcher. Expect the Philadelphia Phillies to make a move to re-sign Ruiz this offseason.
4. Ryan Howard
Everyone should be able to sleep easy this offseason knowing that the Big Piece will be completely healthy to start next season. Ryan Howard has been battling injuries and has not been 100 percent all year long. Regardless, the Phillies first basemen hit .266 in 80 games with 11 home runs. There will be high expectations coming into 2014 for Howard. With a new manager and a fresh lineup, we should see at least 28 home runs and over 100 RBIs. That may not seem like a lot for the $125 million man, but right now you can’t expect much more.
3. Chase Utley
Say hello to the heart and soul of the Philadelphia Phillies fan base. Men and women young and old love Chase Utley. The second basemen is on a whole different level than any other Philadelphia athlete. He has had his share of injury problems, but that’s to be expected when you go 100 miles an hour, 24 hours a day. Utley recently signed a two-year extension with the Phillies through 2015. At full health and with Ryan Howard back in the lineup, Utley should put together a pretty good season at the plate next year. In 128 games this season, he has hit .282 with 18 home runs -- his best numbers since 2009, which was the last time he played in more than 120 games. Although he is aging, he looks to be coming back to form and is worth all $25 million.
2. Jimmy Rollins
Unfortunately, Jimmy Rollins will be returning next season at shortstop. The good news is that he will be a free agent in the following season. This means fans only have to put up with one more season of the 34-year-old. Rollins should have been gone when his contract was up previously, but the team felt it was best to keep him around. The only thing you can expect is that he will return. His numbers will continue to decline, as it appears that Rollins is really only hanging in there just enough to get paid.
1. Ben Revere
Who else do you expect to play center field? Ben Revere has proven that he is an elite defensive player for the Phillies. The question of whether he can hit was raised, but he got his average up to .305 prior to getting hurt. It would be nice to see him collect a few more extra-base hits with his speed. You know you will not get any power from Revere, so look for the team to work on his swing to get a few more triples and doubles from the speedster. It would be a complete shock if Revere is not in the outfield next year. Who would take his place, John Mayberry? Don’t kid yourself.