We are in some pretty dark times as fans of the Philadelphia sports teams. The Sixers and Phillies are arguably two of the worst teams in all of American professional sports while the Eagles and Flyers just cannot seem to make the leap into playoff contention. All the doom and gloom aside, there is a considerable amount of hope for each of these teams to make become major contenders in their respective sports.
We are a town starving for another winner. 2008 was awesome, and not just for the World Series champion Phillies. The other three teams made solid runs around those years. Now we get excited if we see a promising Nerlens Noel stat line or an Eagles win that brings them to .500. It is kind of sad. So at this current point in quite frankly, a boring time to be a Philly fan, who is the next team to quench our hunger for championship?
What? This team right now is a bunch of AAA prospects and journeymen! How can they somehow win a championship sooner than the Eagles or Flyers? In baseball, the formula for winning is quite simple. First you need a diverse and talented foundation. The Phillies arguably have one of the better young cores in baseball including their stocked farm system. Maikel Franco and J.P. Crawford should man the left side of the infield for many years to come, and Aaron Nola, Vincent Velasquez, and Jared Eickhoff look like promising pieces for the rotation.
Second, and maybe more importantly, it’s imperative to have the power to spend money. Due to the fact that the MLB does not have a salary cap, teams can spend at will and the Phillies are a big market team that has a ton of money, especially after their lucrative television contract. The 2016 season will be one of pure development. The Phillies brass are hoping that the young players progress and begin to realize their potentials, because right after this year, they should be ready to open up the wallets. They have the amount of capital to attract the likes of Stephen Strasburg and Carlos Gomez, even if they are not viewed as a sure-fire contender in 2017. They will not win in 2017, but after that season is when the real fun begins.
The 2018 free agent class is absolutely stacked. Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen, Josh Donaldson and Manny Machado are all elite, MVP-level talents. And that is just the position players. The pitchers may be even better with aces like Clayton Kershaw, Matt Harvey, Dallas Keuchel, and Jose Fernandez. By that time, the Phillies will be an up and coming team with mountains of cash. They are bound to sign at least one, if not a couple of these players.
Finally, over the past few months, there have been small discussions of whether or not Mike Trout could be traded. If he is on the move, whether it is through free agency or by trade, the Phillies might be the front runner. Like I keep saying, they have the money to give him the monster extension he deserves, but in addition, Trout is a Philly kid through and through and he might want to play for his beloved hometown Phillies before his career is over.
If you add up all of these together, it is not hard to see the Phillies playing in October soon and perhaps parading down Broad Street for the second time in 15 years.
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