They did it.
I still can’t believe it. As I watched the Eagles beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl last Sunday night at the Fillmore in Philadelphia, it all seemed so surreal. After more than six and a half decades of waiting, the Eagles had won the Lombardi Trophy. I’ll never forget the scene.
Tonight, this happened. I still can’t believe it. pic.twitter.com/2jctuEqzjo— John Stolnis (@FelskeFiles) February 5, 2018
It reminded me so much of the 2008 Phillies, a team for whom we will celebrate its 10th anniversary ad nauseum on The Felske Files podcast this summer. As incredible as the Eagles Super Bowl championship was, it still hasn’t knocked off the ‘08 World Series victory over the Tampa Bay Rays for me, the first Philly sports championship I ever experienced.
The Phils have always been my first love and always will be (although the Eagles are about as close a No. 2 as a person can have, to be honest). So for me, the ‘08 championship is still a bit higher up. You never forget your first love.
But now that the parade has finished, we can look back on the 2017 Eagles season as a whole, and think about when the Phillies might be ready to host another parade themselves.
It’s not probably not happening this year for the Phils (although we said that about the Eagles at the start of the season too, didn’t we?), but there are some similarities that were touched on a bit in the latest “The Leadoff” Good Phight mailbag that came out earlier this week that I wanted to expand a bit on.
All last year, we talked about the Phillies needing “a dude,” someone to become a star and the face of the franchise. That’s what Carson Wentz did for the Eagles this year, and perhaps Rhys Hoskins is ready to take that leap this season. Most projections see him as a potential three-win player in 2018, but the potential certainly exists for him to be an All-Star and one of the best young sluggers in the game.
In fact, MLB.com’s Richard Justice listed Hoskins as one of his 10 darkhorse MVP candidates in 2018, noting Hoskins will need to continue to show the “jaw-dropping power” that he showed when he was first called up to be considered. But certainly, the Phils are centering their PR campaign around Hoskins for 2018, and for good reason.
Nelson Agholor was a disaster in 2016 for the Eagles. Dropped passes. Bad routes. Frustration. Bust written all over him. Most called for him to be released at midseason last year, and no one thought he was going to have the kind of turnaround season he did this year.
Sound any Phillie player you know?
Out of 144 qualified Major League players last year, Maikel Franco’s fWAR of -0.5 was 138th. Only six players were worse. He hit 24 home runs, but that’s about all he did. Many Phils fans just want to be rid of him, already tired of his inconsistency. But like Agholor, who was a first round pick by the Birds, Franco has a ton of talent and was one of the best-looking young sluggers in baseball as recently as 2015.
Can Franco have a bounce-back season like Agholor did?
Alshon Jeffrey came to the Eagles on a cheap, one-year deal. A prove-it contract. And prove it he did, catching 9 touchdown passes and making one huge play after another in the playoffs. He was given a well deserved four-year, $52 million contract extension for his efforts.
This off-season, the Phillies added a high-priced veteran star in Carlos Santana. Santana provides the Phils with a much needed playmaker in the middle of the order, someone who gets on base, plays great defense, and perhaps most importantly, signals to the rest of the league that the Phillies believe they have turned a corner in their rebuild. And now that he’s out a pitcher’s park in Cleveland and playing in the best home run park in baseball (according to last season’s Park Factors), Santana could be a 30-homer guy.
Maybe there will be others. Maybe Gabe Kapler can turn into a Doug Pederson-like genius, although no one should expect something like that right away. Maybe the Phils’ bullpen additions can have the same effect additions like LaGarrette Blount and Patrick Robinson had. Maybe the Phils will make a mid-season trade that affects their fortunes in the positive way the trade for Jay Ajayi did for the Birds.
On Episode 175 of The Felske Files, we talk about the potential parallels, the differences between the two incredible parades, the latest Hot Stove news and notes (such as they are) and a deep dive into Aaron Nola’s potential this season.
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