Along with the pure joy of the Phillies’ first home game today come concerns. For the Phillies and their fans, that includes the specter of old age: the bad backs, sore arms, and slow legs of an aging team.
Ben Lindbergh, managing editor of the website Baseball Prospectus penned an article that asks the terrifying question: “Are the Phillies Too Old to Win?”
“This year we project them to be the oldest that they have ever been — over 32 years old — which would be the oldest team in baseball, for position players that is,” Lindbergh said. “And since 2001, there have been only five playoff teams that were older than the Phillies will be this year.”
Lindbergh said he expects the Phils will continue to be competitive this season. A year or two down the road, he said, it could be a real problem.
“Typically, hitters peak around 26, 27 and stay more or less at the same level for a few years. That age 32-to-age-34 period is when they kind of undergo their steepest decline,” he said. “And the Phillies, as a team, their position players are just about 32 right now, so a whole bunch of them are sort of entering that danger zone.”
Kenneth Shropshire, the director of the Wharton Sports Business Initiative, said he knows it’s hard to watch much-loved players leave.
“We’re seeing that time come for the Phillies as this young glorious team of the past decade is getting older and two things happen — increased injuries and teams make business decisions about moving on to new and younger players,” Shropshire said
Shropshire did offer a nugget of hope to fans. The players know the team won’t be together forever, so they’re giving it all they have, he said.