Ultimate Standings: Phillies drop for fifth straight year

The Phillie Phanatic is seen during an Aug. 27 game as the Phillies take on the New York Mets in Philadelphia. AP Photo/Michael Perez

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Philadelphia Phillies

Overall: 118
Title track: T44
Ownership: 100
Coaching: 122
Players: 118
Fan relations: 119
Affordability: 104
Stadium experience: 76
Bang for the buck: 112
Change from last year: -35

One of only two teams to have fallen in our rankings in five straight years, the Phillies have taken a staggering nosedive of 100 spots overall during that time. It can't be a huge surprise, considering the product on the field, and Philly faithful can only hope this year's sweeping front-office changes can reverse the franchise's downward trajectory.

What's good

The Phillies' title track score stays elevated thanks to those glory years from 2007 to 2011, though fans might not have much reason to believe the team will add to the trophy case any time soon. Regardless -- and despite the team's failure to draw 2 million fans for the first time since 2002 -- the Phils continue to receive their highest grade in the category of stadium experience. That's largely a tribute to the Phillie Phanatic, who remains the best, most inventive and entertaining mascot since the San Diego Chicken. Citizens Bank Park has charm and ambiance to spare, and the Phillies' promotions department works overtime to keep crowds engaged.

What's bad

In the estimation of many industry observers -- and fans, according to bottom-five scores in coaching and players -- the Phillies have fallen behind the curve in the use of advanced statistical metrics and other new-age roster-building tools. They hung onto Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and other fading franchise mainstays for too long. They've also drafted poorly and been slow to develop the requisite young talent to keep pace in the NL East. No surprise, then, that fans labeled the Phillies the worst in sports in "getting the most out of the money they spend." Ryne Sandberg, who resigned as manager in June, wasn't a particularly popular option, and interim Pete Mackanin doesn't inspire much more confidence: He ranked last in "strong leadership as a coach" a month after he took over.

What's new

Ownership, down a team-worst 31 spots this year, ranked 100th overall, still significantly better than many of the other on-field categories. The team's owners have typically faded into the background in Philadelphia, but that's about to change. Partner John Middleton is taking a more active role in the club's operations. And in response to three straight losing seasons, incoming club president Andy MacPhail fired general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. in September. Some big contracts are about to come off the books, and the combination of a new $2.5 billion deal with Comcast SportsNet, payroll flexibility and a budding farm system could bode well for the coming years.

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