The Philadelphia Phillies are hoping that 2014 ends differently than the past two seasons did. But, New Year's resolutions alone won't make diamond dreams come true.
General manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. believed that pitching would be back in fashion after he took over for Pat Gillick in 2008. Banking that the end of the steroid era would naturally lead to a greater mound focus, Philadelphia's top front office baseball boss worked to transform his roster after the Phillies second-ever championship parade was held.
After Gillick's boys mashed their way to a World Series victory over the Tampa Bay Rays, Amaro decided to go all-in on the pitching front. His major league trend line projection proved to be correct, but the various combinations of men that he paid in the five following seasons weren't able to raise another 'Fall Classic' flag.
Currently, Ryne Sandberg is hoping that the collection of position players he has been given are able to remain healthy and that his bench is stronger than last season. Bob McClure would like three, or four, of his starters to take approximately 30 turns, while Rod Nichols will try to coax a collectively better year from a majority of his bullpen residents.
Many of Philadelphia's faithful want to believe that their team has turned a corner, though that seems unlikely until at least 2015. However, each calendar revolution naturally leads to earnest resolution, which is inherent in the nature of this game.