As the calendar turns to late November and the Holiday season is soon to be upon us. I decided it was time to run through what I believe needs to be another “Objectively Excellent” winter for the Phightin Phils. As we are putting together our lists for Jolly Saint Nick, lets talk as a fan-base about what we are going to put on our Holiday list to be delivered to Citizens Bank Park next year.
Unfortunately, the list is going to be LONGGGG. Watching the 2019 Postseason reaffirmed our fears as a fan-base that the Phillies are not only way behind the Atlanta Braves, but also the Washington Nationals. Lets break it down by position group to discuss possible upgrades and options for next year.
The Phillies struck out on free agency starting pitching last year by missing out on names such as Patrick Corbin, JA Happ, and Lance Lynn. If they want to have any chance at winning the NL East is 2020 this is going to have to change and quickly!
There has been a ton of discussion about Garrett Cole, however after speaking with some sources it would be a “great surprise” if he were to end up in Philadelphia. Things can change quickly and money talks, but my understanding is he will sign elsewhere. Stephen Strasburg is the next big name on the list and earned himself a BIG payday by winning World Series MVP. However, the word is he will be returning to Nationals on a deal that could happen “sooner than later”.
This leaves the Phillies in a tough spot, the fans will not be happy after missing out on the top 2 FA pitchers, and the team will still be looking for an upgrade in the form of 2-3 arms. The hot names are Zach Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner, and Cole Hamels but I am not sold on any of these being the upgrade they need to make the playoffs.
Look for the Phillies to make multiple “High to Mid” level signings in the form of shorter term deals. A few names to watch could be Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, Julio Teheran, and Kyle Gibson. I believe the Phillies will look for short term, “low risk – high reward” type guys because in the near future they will look to integrate Spencer Howard and Adonis Medina into the rotation.
Phillies 2020 Rotation – Nola, Hamels, Gibson, Arrieta, Efflin
Once again the 2019 Postseason has shown everyone how important the bullpen is to winning a world series. With this being said, it is obvious the Phillies are once again going to need multiple upgrades to compete in 2020 and beyond.
The Phillies who will be returning and have earned the opportunity. Hector Neris, Seranthony Dominguez, Adam Morgan, and Jose Alverez. The Fans may not be happy with this list, but the balance of 2 lefties and 2 righties is a good start to an effective bullpen.
A few new faces who you can expect to see…. Dellin Betances could be looking at a short term deal due to injury concerns and a 1 yr deal for the big guy is something i would jump all over. Another good idea would be to look toward the Astros to improve the bullpen. Hector Rendon, and Will Harris will be free agents. I look for Harris to be added at a reasonable contract as well. The last two names i will bring up are Brandon Kintzler and Craig Stammen. Kintzler had a bounce back year for the Cubs and has a tremendous ground ball rate. Stammen started his career for the Nationals but has been great for the Padres the last 3 years.
Final bullpen – Neris, Dominguez, Morgan, Alverez, Betances, Harris, Kintzler, Stammen
The biggest question on the infield is what to do at third base. Former first round pick Alec Bohm has continued to impress in the Arizona Fall League and by all accounts has an MLB Bat. The question is can he play defensively at third base at a major league level. I think the Phillies want to find out and because of this will look for a short term replacement this winter. Looks for names like Todd Frazier or Logan Forsythe to be a stop gap until Bohm is deemed ready.
Jean Sugura’s time at Shortstop is coming to an end in Philadelphia, but I do believe he will still be on the roster next year. Look for the Phillies to finally move on from Cesar Hernandez at second base and move Segura to this position. This will allow for the teams best defensive shortstop, Scott Kingery, to play the position.
Rhys Hoskins, even with his very disappointing second half of 2019, is this teams first baseman for the foreseeable future. A change at hitting coach will be the biggest asset to getting Rhys back on track in 2020. He needs to get back to working the ball gap to gap and using the entire field to do damage.
Infield – Frazier/Bohm, Kingery, Segura, Hoskins
The Phillies outfield is the most set positional group on the roster. The only big question that needs to be answered is what the Phillies will do with Odubel Herrera. It is my best guess that he has played his last game for the Phils and they will move on from him this off-season.
Andrew McCutchen is still on pace to return for the start of the year and get back to 100% soon after that. The 2019 team really showed the difference in what he meant to this ballclub. With him returning and Adam Haseley continuing to develop look for this unit the be a strength of this team next year.
The Phillies also have a very deep prospect pool in the outfield, so if a trade is going to be made to make an addition this offseason a few of these names would certainly be involved. Names like, Mikey Moniak or Simon Muzziotti could be involved.
Outfield – McCutchen, Haseley, Harper
Bench / Catcher
The best moves made by the 2019 Phillies were the “under the radar” moves that should continue to help the 2020 Phillies. The addition of Jay Bruce, who will now move back to the role of bench bat will be a great addition for the club.
Backup Catcher is an area that is going to need to be upgraded for the 2020 Phillies. It is officially time to move on from Andrew Knapp. I look for an upgrade in the form of a veteran. Austin Romine is the name that i am keeping an eye on to be added to this roster.
JT Realmuto, who has won award after award this off-season will be back and should continue to improve. His next extension could take some time and may not even come until into next year but don’t worry Phillies fans he is going to be behind the dish for years to come in Philadelphia.
Bench – Bruce, Quinn, Romaine, Harrison
The Phillies are a long shot to compete for a World Series in 2020. The Pitching staff is going to need an entire rebuild. 4 to 5 quality arms are going to be needed to get this staff to the point where it can compete in October. The core of Harper, Hoskins and Realmuto needs one more legit superstar to be added moving forward as well.
With the need to add 5-6 impact players to take that next step, i believe it will be too much to overcome in just one off-season.