We are continuing with our “Three Needs” series, in which we booty a attending at the arch issues to be addressed for clubs that accept collapsed out of contention. We’ve already focused on the Mariners, Tigers, White Sox, Marlins, Rangers, Pirates, Angels and Royals.
Now we’re absorption on the Phillies, whose ultra-aggressive offseason didn’t crop the blazon of after-effects they expected. The club has now gone eight beeline seasons afterwards a playoff berth, and its mediocrity over the accomplished two years may able-bodied bulk administrator Gabe Kapler his job.
Regardless of what happens with Kapler, accepted administrator Matt Klentak acutely has absolutely a bit of assignment to do with the club’s agenda this winter. Let’s booty a attending at a few areas he could address.
1. Repair the rotation
The Phillies’ anemic circling is one of the accessible affidavit for the team’s annihilation this season. Aside from Aaron Nola, the club hasn’t accustomed decidedly able assembly from any of its starters. Attractive ahead, Nola, the black Jake Arrieta and Zach Eflin are solid bets to absorb circling spots in 2020, while high-end anticipation Spencer Howard could pale a affirmation to one at some point.
Jason Vargas is controllable abutting year by way of a club advantage account $8M, but the Phillies could buy out the borderline accretion for $2M afterwards his below-average second-half performance. If that happens, and if the Phillies don’t appetite to await on the added all-a-quiver centralized options (Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta, to name two), they bulk to chase abroad for help.
The Phillies aloof allocated an astronomic bulk of money to their position amateur casting a year ago, including $330M on outfielder Bryce Harper, and it wouldn’t be a abruptness to see buyer John Middleton accredit above spending on the circling during the accessible offseason.
Baseball’s arch awaiting chargeless agent, Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole, looks like a abeyant ambition — one who could bulk in the $200M ambit or more. Madison Bumgarner, Zack Wheeler, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dallas Keuchel, Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson and old acquaintance Cole Hamels accomplish for several added -to-be chargeless agents who’d advice the Phillies.
2. Upgrade the bullpen
The Phillies accept fabricated assorted blighted abode signings over the accomplished brace offseasons. They’ve gotten little to annihilation from Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter during their soon-to-expire two-year guarantees, while the aforementioned will wind up applying to David Robertson. The aggregation awarded the commonly abiding and accomplished Robertson $23M over two years aftermost winter, but he alone threw a scattering of innings this division afore accedence to Tommy John anaplasty in August. As a aftereffect of that procedure, Robertson apparently won’t angle in 2020.
While the Phillies accept addled out on abatement acquisitions, that doesn’t beggarly they should stop trying. It’s accessible their abatement band is in charge of aid, abnormally with Juan Nicasio (who’s third amid their relievers in innings) and Nick Vincent (who has performed able-bodied aback signing in August) due to hit chargeless agency.
Hector Neris, Jose Alvarez and Ranger Suarez are the alone relievers who accept been able over a solid sample of innings this season, and all three bulk to be aback in 2020. Philadelphia will additionally achievement for advantageous bounce-back seasons from Seranthony Dominguez, Edubray Ramos, Victor Arano and Adam Morgan, who entered this year attractive like architecture blocks but accept aback endured a black season.
That’s not a accumulation bare of promise, but it’s additionally loaded with risk. So, apprehend the Phillies to abide attempting to bolster their abode with added accustomed accoutrements in the offseason, back Will Smith, Aroldis Chapman (if he opts out of his Yankees deal), Will Harris, Chris Martin, Dellin Betances and Drew Pomeranz are amid those who could hit the accessible market.
3. Lock up catcher J.T. Realmuto
Last offseason’s accretion of Realmuto has been a huge success for Philly, which saw the 28-year-old brilliant become the game’s best catcher in 2019. While Realmuto is abiding to abide a Phillie abutting year, which will be his final division of adjudication eligibility, his approaching is murkier thereafter. Both Realmuto and the Phillies accept fabricated it accepted they’d like to abide their accord for the accountable future, authoritative him one of baseball’s prime addendum candidates activity into the winter.
Having traded two affection casting affairs — including the accomplished Sixto Sanchez — as able-bodied as major-league catcher Jorge Alfaro for concise ascendancy over Realmuto aftermost offseason, the Phillies will be all the added motivated to anticipate the brilliant backstop from entering abutting year afterwards a abiding accord in place.
Related slideshow: The 25 better belief from the 2019 MLB division (Provided by Yardbarker)
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