Philadelphia Phillies 2022 Season Previewby John Lepore April 6, 2022 0 comments
The Philadelphia Phillies came close to taking the National League East last season. Heading into the final week, they were 2.5 games back of the Braves. Unfortunately, the Phillies went into Atlanta and got swept by the eventual champs. After licking their wounds, Dave Dombrowski and Sam Fuld went to work on improving the team. Philadelphia has now gone 10 years in a row without a playoff appearance. On the bright side, last season was the first time in the last decade they have finished over .500, albeit at 82-80.
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One area where the Phillies improved is in the power department. They were basically average offensively as a team last year and will look to pound their opponents into submission, defense be damned. They also lost a few bullpen pieces to free agency but were able to replace them with a couple of arms.
Kyle Schwarber, OF, Four Years/$79 Million
The Phillies already had a big left-handed bat in defending NL MVP Bryce Harper. They went out and signed another one. Schwarber had a historic run last year swatting 16 home runs in 18 games for the Washington Nationals. That was before he got hurt and was subsequently traded to the Boston Red Sox. He played well for Boston, slashing .291/.435/.522. Overall, the 29-year-old had 32 homers in just 113 games last season. Right-handed pitchers will have to tread lightly against the Phillies this season.
Nick Castellanos, OF, Five Years/$100 Million
Another big bat came to Philadelphia this offseason. Castellanos had a very good year last season with the Cincinnati Reds and opted out of his original deal to become a free agent. He slashed .309/.362/.576 with a career-high 34 homers and drove in 100 runs for the second time. Along with Schwarber, Castellanos brings a big stick but an iron glove. Luckily there is the DH this season as having them both on the field could be problematic. However, having Harper, Castellanos, and Schwarber in the middle of the lineup gives them arguably the best offense in the NL East.
Brad Hand, LHP, One Year/$6 Million
Hand played for three different teams over the first 10 years of his career. He then played for three teams in 2021. Moving around and nagging injuries may have hurt the 32-year-old a bit last season. However, since he became a reliever full-time in 2016, Hand has a 2.90 ERA with 125 saves and has struck out 31.3 percent of the batters he faced. He gives the Phillies a solid option who can get tough outs or be a closer.
The Phillies lost a few players, and their bullpen may take a hit. Nevertheless, they look to bash teams over the head with power. The bullpen can’t be much worse than it has been the past few years.
Andrew McCutchen, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
The veteran had a good season with the Phillies last year. Cutch had 27 home runs and 80 RBIs which were the most since 2017 in his Pittsburgh days. He was replaced by the aforementioned Castellanos, who should offer more offensively and with untimely memes.
A Whole Bullpen
Hector Neris spent his first eight seasons with the Phillies and now takes his talents to Houston. He got the bag with a Two-year/ $17 million deal and an option for 2024. He leaves the Phils with 84 career saves.
Ian Kennedy was a rental last season and moved on to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Heading into his 16th season in the bigs, the right-hander has 56 saves in 2019 and 2021 combined. He will likely set up Mark Melancon at the back end of the pen for the Snakes.
Archie Bradley made 53 appearances with Philadelphia in 2021. He moved on to sign a one-year/ $3.75 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels.
The Phillies definitely bolstered their hitting. Whether it will be enough to deal with the Braves and Mets remains to be seen. However, the power is there and they play in a hitter’s park. Their hope is that it will outshine their defensive liabilities. They have been bad over the past few years and have only gotten worse unless guys like Bryson Stott can come help in the middle of the diamond.
The Phillies have what it takes to win the NL East. The lineup is as good as any in the division and the top two of Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola compares well. If Stott is what he should be and the offense mashes as they should, it will only be a matter of the bullpen holding onto leads. With Hand and Jeurys Familia in tow, they should be ok.
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