Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s almost too easy for New York fans to hate on Philadelphia and all of its teams.

We all know the time-tested greatest hits. Eagles fans are disgusting and classless. Flyers fans are a special kind of awful. The 16 remaining actual Sixers fans are especially annoying, and so are all Philadelphia teams.

That is, except the Phillies. That isn’t to say their fans aren’t also guilty of some dumb behavior. They certainly are on several levels. Maybe there’s something in the Schuylkill River that’s affecting the water supply.

But the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team? It’s impossible to genuinely dislike them unless you support the Mets or one of the other three NL East teams. Speaking of the Mets, they have seven potentially crucial games against Philly near the end of the season. We all know they’ll have playoff implications, especially if the Braves turn in another strong year.

And in the Phillies’ case, they’re not going to just run it back in 2023. Rather, they’ll sprint.

Greatest Addition: Trea Turner. Don’t worry about Bryce Harper missing half the season recovering from Tommy John. His friend and former Nationals teammate will help fill the void. Turner signed an 11-year, $300 million (no opt-outs) deal in the offseason and brings five-tool talent to the Phillies.

Turner hit .298 with 21 home runs and a career-best 100 RBI for the Dodgers last year. Now, he continues what could be a Hall of Fame career in Philadelphia. Much like Harper, he wants to be here and should help maintain the winning attitude in the clubhouse.

Greatest Loss: Zach Eflin, even with his sheer inability to stay healthy for a full season. He signed with the Rays in the offseason and though Ranger Suarez will do a fine job as the Phillies’ next soft contact specialist, his control doesn’t touch Eflin’s. He’s posted almost 3.1 walks per nine innings (BB/9) for his career. Eflin averaged nearly 1.6 BB/9 over the last two years.

Eflin won’t be Tampa Bay’s ace, but he’ll still be appreciated as someone who induces a lot of soft contact in a competitive division. Just look at what Nestor Cortes means to the Yankees. The Phillies will be just fine without Eflin, but they’ll certainly miss his control.

Greatest Strength: Rob Thomson. The Phillies were third in the NL East and 12.5 games out of first place when Joe Girardi was fired on June 3. Thomson took over, went 65-46 the rest of the way en route to the World Series, and somehow wasn’t a finalist for NL Manager of the Year.

It doesn’t take an expert to see just how well the Phillies responded to Thomson, independent of the World Series run. The whole team seemed Ted Lasso levels of happy under him, so much that Harper missing half the season doesn’t seem as daunting. Thomson was thus rewarded with both a two-year extension and Trea Turner, and fully set up for success again in 2023.

Greatest Weakness: The bullpen. Philadelphia likely has three players in the mix for the closer’s job. Two-time All-Star Gregory Soto was acquired from the Tigers in the offseason and had 30 saves last year. Homegrown righty Seranthony Dominguez and veteran Craig Kimbrel are also in the mix.

The problem is that none of these three inspires confidence in the ninth inning. Soto is basically Aroldis Chapman lite in that he pairs a blazing fastball with a biting slider, but struggles mightily with walks. Kimbrel has 394 saves, but is 34 and a shell of himself. Dominguez has notched 25 saves in four years, but only 42.2 of his 134.2 career innings are in the final frame. How he’d fare as a full-time closer is anybody’s guess.

Thomson has hinted at using a “floating closer” and keeping his options open, and maybe that will work over most of a season. But come playoff time, matchups matter less and it’s more about the one arm you trust to close the game. The Phillies don’t have that as of right now.

Will the Phillies make it back to the World Series? They certainly can, but it depends on the Mets. New York is banking heavily not only on Justin Verlander putting up Cy Young numbers at age 40, but the Braves regressing. Next to the seven late September games they’ll play, their respective series in May and June mean nothing.

The Mets will be hungry to finish in first after last year’s collapse and early Wild Card Exit. Philadelphia is out to prove last year wasn’t a fluke. Add their collective star power, and this NL East rivalry will thrive in 2023.

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Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.