How much pressure is on the Phillies?
The Phillies finished the 2018 season with a record of 80-82. That was after a year when they finished 66-96. I would say that a 14 game improvement is pretty good for a first-year manager and a young core of players. This 80-82 record, paired with the talented group of free agents led me to this question, how much pressure is on the Phillies? The Atlanta Braves are not going anywhere. They have a young talented core of players as well, and they just signed former American League MVP Josh Donaldson. The Phillies have made it clear that they want to spend money, but how much pressure do the Phillies have on them to speed up this rebuild?
John Middleton says he's ready to 'be a little stupid' about how much money he spends this winter. Swell. Not that anyone asked, but here are three ways the #Phillies can spend stupid money wisely. Story, via @phillysport: https://t.co/ktFyJ0ZdRc
— Scott Lauber (@ScottLauber) November 21, 2018
Does spending mean winning?
I think a lot of people grew up hating the Yankees because of the old cliche, “They bought their team.” Well yes, they had the highest payroll, and they were winning. But how much does spending actually have to do with winning? This question may seem a bit rhetorical or even stupid. Someone is probably sitting there thinking, “Of course the more you spend the more you will win.” This might be the case, but if the Phillies spend this money in a poor way, it will not result in winning.
“I can never remember a winter in which one team is the linchpin more than Philly is now,” a veteran GM said. “Maybe the Yankees in some free-spending period, but maybe not even them.”https://t.co/QwpDHvVZDZ
— Joe Giglio (@JoeGiglioSports) November 28, 2018
A lot of people have expressed their feeling on the Carlos Santana contract. A three-year deal worth $60M. Although I think the Santana deal is a reason for the 14 game improvement from 2017-2018, I think the Phillies overpaid. Overpaying for a player hurts the franchise much more than adding him will help.
What you can expect for next season
I think we can all safely say that the Phillies are going to sign at least two free agents. With the amount of news coming out that the Phillies are interested in every single free agent, it is only a matter of time before one or five of them sign. As I said earlier, the Braves are not going anywhere. They are the team to beat in the NL East, and they have earned that after winning 90 games in 2018.
The Phillies Big 3 from the World Series champs will have retirement ceremonies at Citizens Bank Park in 2019
Jimmy Rollins May 4
Chase Utley June 21
Ryan Howard July 14
Then a 10 year reunion of 2009 NL Champs Aug 2-4 pic.twitter.com/OVRtbopG1Z
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) November 20, 2018
The 2019 Phillies will include the young core of guys that we saw in 2018. Rhys Hoskins, Odebul Herrera, Jorge Alfaro, Scott Kingery, and Nick Williams. Pending any potential trades, I would expect J.P. Crawford to be there too. Don’t forget Crawford was a first round pick. Crawford struggled to stay on the field last season, but it should be fun to watch him in 2019. The question becomes not if the Phillies are going to add players, but rather how many players will they add?
I think the Phillies have some pressure on them. They went from winning five straight NL East titles, to be below average. With the current payroll, and willingness to spend, this is the time for the Phillies rebuild to come to an end. 2019 will make the 10 year anniversary since the Phillies last made it to the World Series. It’s time to get back to that level.
Overpaying is frankly not an option for the Phillies this offseason. With their eyes set firmly on Bryce Harper and/or Manny Machado, Matt Klentak needs to be smart. Before fans freak out after every single signing (Which is something I may do) they need to take a step back. Every move and decision is hopefully part of a bigger plan. A plan that takes this 80-82 win team and makes them a contender.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 23, 2018