MLB Philadelphia Phillies

5 Reasons for Philadelphia Phillies Fans to be Thankful Heading into 2014

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5 Reasons for Philadelphia Phillies Fans to be Thankful Heading into 2014

Howard Smith - USA Today Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies had a miserable year in 2013. 2012 ended the mark of five straight National League East titles, and this year was the first time since 2002 that the team finished under .500 when they finished the year with a 73-89 record.

There were a lot of problems with this team. The injury bug hit them hard this season yet again including Roy Halladay, almost the entire bullpen and Ryan Howard. They were 26th in the league in runs as the offense continued to sputter because of a refusal to take walks and the struggles of hitting with runners in scoring position. They were also 27th in baseball in ERA mainly because the entire bullpen struggled, including overpaid closer Jonathan Papelbon.

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. tried the stopgap approach when it came to filling some of the glaring holes on the team last year by bringing in Michael Young to play third base and Delmon Young in right field. But none of that worked, and now as 2014 approaches it appears it’s time for the Phillies to rebuild.

But the problem with that theory is that they have too many guys under heavy contracts making it difficult to rebuild. With Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Papelbon and Howard all still under most likely unmovable contracts they will be forced to build around them.

Even with the problems that Amaro and company face, fans should not feel that all hope is lost. There is still some talent on this roster and there are circumstances where the Phillies could be good again in 2014. Here are five reasons for Phillies fans to be thankful during the most thankful time of the year.

Zach Slotter is a contributor for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @zslot6, Like his Facebook page and add him on Google.

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5. Chase Utley

Steve Mitchell - USA Today Sports

Chase Utley is finally healthy. He played in 131 games last year and hit .284 with 18 home runs and 69 RBI. Utley proved that he can still be one of the best second basemen in the league, and fans should be thankful that Ruben signed him to a contract extension.

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4. Ryne Sandberg

Joy R. Absalon - USA Today Sports

Fans might not be too excited that the team went only 20-22 under Ryne Sandberg as the interim manager last year, but when he was named permanent manager starting in 2014 it was the right move for the Phillies. He has deserved his chance to manage for a while now, and he will get his chance for an organization and a group of players that really seem to respect him.

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3. Domonic Brown

Joy R. Absalon - USA Today Sports

Domonic Brown emerged as the All-Star that everyone thought he would become when he was named one of the top prospects in baseball a few years back. He hit .272 with 27 home runs and 83 RBI and more importantly he played in a career high 139 games. Health and reps at the plate allowed for a breakout year, and fans now have a staple in one of the corner outfield spots for years to come.

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2. A Healthy Ben Revere

Eric Hartline - USA Today Sports

The Phillies were finally starting to turn their season around when Ben Revere became one of the hottest hitters in baseball. His energy and ability to get on base at the top of the lineup was huge for the Phillies until he fouled a ball off his foot; that broken foot kept him out for the rest of the season. With Revere at the top this lineup can be somewhat potent and fans should be thankful for that.

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1. 2013 is Over

Brett Davis - USA Today Sports

The No. 1 reason why Phillies fans should be thankful is that the season is over, and come March 31 everyone is 0-0 again. They can wash away last year and hopefully start anew and bring happiness to the struggling sports city of Philadelphia. They still have good players; Ruben just needs to put the pieces together to get a winner back on that field.