MLB Offseason Preview: Philadelphia Philliesby John Lepore November 13, 2021 0 comments
The Philadelphia Phillies were in the thick of the National League East race for most of the season. Entering August they were five games back of the New York Mets and a half-game ahead of the Atlanta Braves. The Mets collapsed and Philly played fairly well down the stretch. Unfortunately for them, the Braves went 36-19 to take the East and eventually win the World Series.
For the past four years, the Phillies have been the definition of mediocre, finishing within four games of .500 each season. While the Phillies fielded the potential MVP in Bryce Harper, the potential Cy Young winner in Zack Wheeler, and a top-3 catcher in J.T. Realmuto, they didn’t have much else. The supporting cast has been an issue for Philadelphia over the past few years. They need to realize they can’t simply walk into the playoffs with just a couple of stars.
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The Phillies will have a couple of holes to fill in the outfield with Andrew McCutchen and Odubel Herrera leaving. They have a couple of young replacements in former first-round pick Mickey Moniak and Adam Haseley. However, if Philly is serious about a playoff run, they will need to bring in a better bat as Haseley and Moniak have combined to slash .218/.294/.272 with just one home run in 168 plate appearances over the past two years.
The bullpen is another area of concern with Hector Neris and Archie Bradley leaving. Ranger Suarez had an excellent season, but Joe Girardi may prefer him in the rotation next year. Every team needs relievers, but the Phillies not only have to replace two veterans but also have to look to upgrade as the bullpen wasn’t very good in 2021.
Keys to the Offseason
Bats in the Outfield
Along with the lack of production from Moniak and Haseley, the Phillies don’t have any outfield help on the horizon from their farm system. Philadelphia cannot contend in the NL without having reliable veteran bats in left and center. They could bring in a few cheaper players and mix and match. However, at least one above-average hitter is necessary for the Phillies to take the next step.
Improve the Pen
With Neris and Bradley leaving along with mid-season acquisition Ian Kennedy, the Phillies are losing 24 of the 36 saves they had last season. They need to find a closer they can count on to allow Girardi to mix and match the other innings. While the Phils get Seranthony Dominguez back from Tommy John surgery (he actually threw an inning on the last day of 2021), they still need to bring in an upper-echelon reliever along with a couple of other pieces.
Depth in the Infield
The infield is pretty set for this upcoming season. Nevertheless, the Phillies need to address a few of the issues that may come along. Brad Miller and Freddy Galvis are gone and no one knows what they will get from Scott Kingery. There are also enough question marks among the starters as well as far as how well they will produce. Defensively they are not good at all combining for -18 DRS. Offensively, Rhys Hoskins and Jean Segura were good, but Didi Gregorius and Alec Bohm were well below average.
Starling Marte, 33, Centerfielder
Marte set career highs with a .363 wOBA and 133 wRC+. He will be looking to cash in as the top outfielder in this free-agent class. The Phillies will make a serious push for the 33-year-old. There are quite a few teams who will be vying for the centerfielder’s services, and it will be interesting to see if Philadelphia can outbid Marte’s other suitors.
Kendall Graveman, 30, Relief Pitcher
Graveman reinvented himself as a weapon out of the bullpen this season. Between Seattle and Houston, the right-hander had a 1.77 ERA. His K-BB percentage was a solid 18.5 and he got hitters to pound the ball into the ground at a 54.9 percent clip. If the Phillies can ink Graveman to a long-term deal, they will be certainly wise to improve their infield defense.
Trevor Story, 29, Shortstop
If the Phillies are serious, they need to go after a big-name shortstop. Story obviously has questions about his bat since he played his home games at Coors Field. A career .752 OPS on the road is decent but not great. However, the former Rockie can run, having stolen 20+ bases three of the last four seasons and leading the NL in the category in 2020 (15). He also is an incredible fielder, averaging nearly 15 DRS per 150 games at shortstop. Story is a talented all-around player and worth every penny he gets.
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