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Legends On Deck

How They Were Built: 2015 Philadelphia Phillies

Starting Pitchers

Cole Hamels – Drafted in the first round of the 2001 draft by the Phillies.  Hamels is an ace in every sense of the word.  The one question surrounding him is if he will actually be in Philadelphia or not.  Trade rumors have been swirling around about him all offseason but his final destination is unknown.  Hamels has a career record of 108-83 with an ERA of 3.27.  He would be a tremendous addition at the top of most rotations in baseball if he in fact is shipped out.  Hamels is in the middle of a six-year $144 contract extension he signed with the Phillies back in 2012.  He is signed through 2018 with a club option in 2019.

Cliff Lee – Drafted in the fourth round of the 2000 draft by the Montreal Expos.  Lee was a member of the Phillies back in 2009 until he was traded to the Seattle Mariners that offseason.  Lee signed a free agent deal to return to Philadelphia in 2010.  The deal was for five years and $120 million with an option for 2016.  His name has recently come up as a potential trade option for some teams, but he does have a limited no-trade clause in his contract.  The former Cy Young Award winner and four-time All-Star can be a dominating lefty but was limited to 13 starts in 2014.

Aaron Harang – Signed a one-year $5 million free agent contract in January.  Harang had a nice bounce-back season in 2014 as a member of the Atlanta Braves and will hope to continue where he left off in Philadelphia.  The Phillies will be Harang’s eighth team he has played for in his 13 years in the big leagues.  He is capable of winning some games, but with a team in transition it may not be as easy.  Harang is 122-128 in his career with an ERA of 4.21.

David Buchanan – Drafted by the Phillies in the seventh round of the 2010 draft.  Buchanan made his major league debut last season with the Phillies and posted a 6-8 record in 20 starts.  The 25-year old may have his work cut out for him in 2015 but nothing more experience wont’ help.

Jerome Williams – Selected off waivers from the Texas Rangers in August 2014.  The 33-year old Williams has been kicking around the league since his debut in 2003.  He has played for seven different teams as both a starter and reliever.  He made nine starts for the Phillies after being taken off waivers and went 4-2 with an ERA of 2.83.  I am sure Philadelphia would like to see more of the same but it hard to know what they will get.  He signed a one-year $2.5 million contract in October.

Bullpen

Jonathan Papelbon (CL) – Signed a four-year $50 million free agent contract in November of 2011.  It seemed as though Papelbon was going to be headed to Milwaukee just the other day but it looks like he will be staying in Philadelphia.  For now.  He has 325 saves in 10 years and five All-Star nods and would be a welcomed addition to many teams to come out of the bullpen in the ninth to close out games.  He has seen some of his numbers decline the last two seasons, but he still has a 10.3 k/9 ratio in his career.

Ken Giles – Drafted by the Phillies in the seventh round of the 2011 draft.  Giles made his major league debut in 2014 appearing in 44 games.  He was really good too going 3-1 with an ERA of 1.18 and even registered a save.  Could be an option in the ninth if Papelbon gets traded.

Jake Diekman – Drafted by the Phillies in the 30th round of 2007 draft.  Diekman appeared in 73 games in 2014 with Philadelphia going 5-5 with an ERA of 3.80.  He is a nice left-handed option out of the bullpen and will most likely get plenty of work again in 2015.  In 71 innings last season he registered 100 strikeouts which works out to a 12.7 k/9.

Justin De Fratus – Drafted by the Phillies in the 11th round of the 2007 draft.  Appearing in over 50 games for the second straight season, De Fratus had a good season in 2014 going 3-1 with an ERA of 2.39, which was down from 3.86 in 2013.

Cesar Jimenez – Signed a free agent contract with the Phillies in 2012 and has been on one-year deals ever since.  Jimenez has played in part of five seasons since 2006 when he made his debut with the Seattle Mariners.  He appeared in 16 games in 2014 with an ERA of 1.69.

Phillippe Aumont – Acquired in the Cliff Lee trade with the Seattle Mariners in 2009.  Once looked at as a top 100 prospect according to Baseball America, Aumont hasn’t quite had the success that the Phillies would have hoped.  He is still young at 26-years old and has only appeared in 45 games so there is still hope that he pans out.

Starting Lineup

Carlos Ruiz (C) – Signed as an amateur free agent with the Phillies in 1998.  Ruiz is a decent hitting defensive catcher and has been doing it for a 9 seasons now.  The 35-year old is in the middle of the three-year $26 million contract he signed in November of 2013.  The deal does hold a club option for the 2017 season and depending on his health and performance you would have to think it would be exercised.  He is a career .271 hitter and could be the perfect person to help along a young pitching staff if Hamels and/or Lee are moved.

Ryan Howard (1B) – Drafted by the Phillies in the fifth round of the 2001 draft.  If you are skilled veteran player on the Phillies your name has most likely surfaced in trade rumors this offseason.  Philadelphia appears to be heading towards a full re-build and are trying to get out from under some of the larger contracts they have signed.  Now as Howard is getting a little older (35) he is more suited for a designated hitter role, so a move to an American League team would be a good idea.  Howard can still hit but with injuries and age his numbers have declined, even though he hit more home runs last season compared to 2012 and 2013.  With one year remaining on the five-year $125 million contract he signed, he could be more of an attractive player for teams to trade for providing the Phillies eat some of the money left.

Chase Utley (2B) – Drafted by the Phillies in the first round of the 2000 draft.  The six-time All-Star had a Chase Utley year in 2014.  After missing time due to injury in the previous few seasons, Utley played in 155 games which was the most since 2009.  He was selected to his six All-Star team after missing out on it four year prior.  It is hard to believe that Utley is entering his 13th year in the major leagues.  If he stays healthy, the vesting options on his contract will kick in which could keep the 36-year old in Philadelphia for the rest of his career.

Cody Asche (3B) – Drafted by the Phillies in the fourth round of the 2011 draft.  Asche made his major league debut in 2013 appearing in just 50 games.  That number went up by almost 2 1/2 times in 2014 and he showed that he is capable at playing every day.  In 121 games, he hit .252 with 10 home runs, but as the case with many young players, he struck out a lot.  Asche needs to improve on his defense however as he made 16 errors at the hot corner.  He is possibly just keeping the seat warm for prospect Maikel Franco.

Freddy Glavis (SS) – Signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent in 2006.  Galvis saw a dip in his offensive output in 2014, but was solid defensively.  He can pretty much play anywhere in the infield, but he made most of his starts at short.  It is going to be real strange not to see J-Roll on the left side of the infield for the first time in fifteen years but it will be something fans will need to get used to.  Jimmy Rollins was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers this season after spending his entire career with the Phillies.  Galvis has some big shoes to fill but could also be looked at as a stop-gap from J.P. Crawford when he makes the leap to the big leagues.

Domonic Brown (LF) – Drafted by the Phillies in the 20th round of the 2006 draft.  After making the All-Star team in 2013, Brown suffered a bit of a down year as he saw all of his offensive numbers take a hit while playing in 5 more games than 2013.  He has plenty of talent which signs a bit brighter when the team plays better.  He can hit for power and can play some defense.  The Phillies signed him to a one-year $2.6 million deal to avoid arbitration this offseason.

Ben Revere (CF) – Acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Twins in 2012.  Revere is a tremendous player that hits for average and is deadly on the base paths.  He recorded 184 hits last season which led the National League and swiped 49 bases which was good for third.  The Phillies signed him to a one-year $4.1 million deal to avoid arbitration.  Look for Philadelphia to lock him up long-term so he can be a part of this franchise moving forward.

Grady Sizemore (LF) – Signed a one-year $2 million free agent contract.  After multiple failed comeback attempts, Sizemore played well enough to stick with the team at least in 2015.  Sizemore missed three years in the majors due to injury and setbacks.  He started the season with the Boston Red Sox but was released in June.  Six days later the Phillies signed him and appeared in 60 games hitting .253.

Projected Bench

Cameron Rupp (C) – Drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the third round of the 2010 draft.  Rupp appears to be the one to take over the backup catchers spot in 2015.  He played in 18 games in 2014 hitting .183.

Jeff Francoeur (OF) – Signed a minor league contract in November.  Francoeur hasn’t played a full season since 2012, but if he remains healthy and makes the team out of spring training, this could be a real good signing for the Phillies.  He is capable of playing all of the outfield positions which could certainly come in handy.

Darin Ruf (1B/OF) – Drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 20th round of the 2009 draft.  Ruf is great defensive replacement in the late innings who has a little bit of pop in his bat.  He hit 14 home runs in 2013.

Cesar Hernandez (IF/OF) – Signed as an amateur free agent with the Phillies in 2006.  Hernandez can play different spots in the infield although he appears to be best at the middle infield positions.  He is a career .264 hitter in the 100 games he has played in so far.

Odubel Herrera (IF/OF) – Selected in the Rule 5 draft.  Herrera, if he stays with the team, can certainly hit.  In all of his stops in the minors last season, he recorded 151 hits and an average of .315.  He has the ability to play everywhere on the diamond and pretty much has since his professional debut in 2009.  Herrera will have to remain on the Phillies 25-man roster for the season if he in fact stays with the team.

John Ginder

Site Co-Founder/Senior Editor and Co-Host at Legends on Deck® The Podcast
In the past John has been a part of such successful sites as MetsMerizedOnline and MetsMinors.net.John was born and raised in upstate New York and has a love of all sports but mainly baseball. He has grown used to heartache with his teams as he roots for the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres too.John has a loving and understanding wife and is the the proud father of two amazing boys.He also loves heavy metal music.

You can also reach out to John at jginder@legendsondeck.com