PHILADELPHIA -- Last offseason, the Phillies dismissed the folks who thought they could not compete in 2014.
They will not have the same attitude this offseason. Interim team president Pat Gillick said last week that the Phils probably will not contend again until 2017 or '18. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said the next day, "We've got some regrouping, rebuilding -- whatever you want to call it. There's things that we have to do that are different. ... We're probably looking more long term than short term in our improvements."
That philosophy shift should make for a much different Hot Stove season.
Here is a look at the Phillies' offseason, which officially got underway following Game 7 of the World Series on Wednesday:
The Phillies already re-signed Grady Sizemore and Jerome Williams. A.J. Burnett declined his $12.75 million player option. Other Phils free agents include Kyle Kendrick, Mike Adams (his $6 million club option was declined) and Wil Nieves. There is no chance that Adams will return. It is unlikely that Kendrick will return, although Philadelphia lacks starting-pitching depth. It seems less likely Nieves will return with a rebuilding effort underway. It might make more sense to go younger and cheaper at backup catcher with somebody like Cameron Rupp.
The Phillies need starting-pitching depth and hitters, particularly in the outfield. The Phils only have three healthy starting pitchers under contract or team control -- Cole Hamels, David Buchanan and Williams. Cliff Lee is recovering from an injured left elbow, although the team thinks he should be ready by Spring Training. Philadelphia has very little power in their lineup, which needs to improve.
The Phillies have discussed Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas, who turns 24 next month. It might take $100 million to sign him, but if he lives up to the hype, the Phils would be getting a power-hitting corner outfielder in the prime years of his career. But will Philadelphia take that risk? That remains to be seen. In the starting-pitching market, look less at the big names available (Jon Lester, James Shields and Max Scherzer) and more at the pitchers who might accept a moderately priced contract, either because they're No. 4-type starters or because they're looking to bounce back from injury or disappointing seasons (Jason Hammel, Edinson Volquez, J.A. Happ, Wandy Rodriguez, etc.). The Phillies' bullpen is in good shape, so they should be OK there.
Everyone is available. Everyone. Let's say it again one more time: The Phillies will trade anybody if it makes sense. Start with Hamels, who could land them a huge haul of prospects. Continue with Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins. The Phils certainly will continue to try to trade closer Jonathan Papelbon and right fielder Marlon Byrd. They are willing to move left fielder Domonic Brown and center fielder Ben Revere, both of whom are eligible for salary arbitration. Left-hander Antonio Bastardo, who also is arbitration-eligible, could be traded, with Jake Diekman and Mario Hollands looking capable last season. But Philadelphia would consider trading one of its younger players like Diekman, Cody Asche, etc., if it helped facilitate a trade for one of their more bloated contracts.
Just because the Phillies are rebuilding doesn't mean the offseason will be boring. In fact, it could be the most fascinating offseason in years. The whole dynamic of the organization could change.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.