Phillies Mailbag: Realmuto’s Resilience, Infield, Nola
We are back once again with the 97.3 ESPN Phillies mailbag. Each week we take your questions and discuss them on The Sports Bash with Mike Gill Tuesday afternoons. Ask your questions at any time to @FrankKlose on Twitter, or submit questions live on the broadcast.
Do you move J.T. Realmuto to a Buster Posey 81-game catching plan?
The Phillies held back from offering catcher J.T. Realmuto eight years or $25 million a season. They settled at five years and $23.1 million average per season. They did so hoping his physical endurance would allow him to catch more than average. It appears, after three seasons of nagging injuries during the season, that the Phillies might have to re-think that.
However, I think we are a long way from where Buster Posey is at. Posey will end up catching north of the 100-game mark if all goes well, or if the San Francisco Giants, already in possession of a postseason berth, do not decide to rest him more down the stretch.
I think a lot will depend on whether or not there is a designated hitter in 2021. Phillies manager Joe Girardi was well-known for mixing and matching the designated hitter for the day. The Phillies can mix in Realmuto, Hoskins, and maybe others, depending on matchups and depending who is taking a day off.
But yes - I think it is clear that Realmuto needs more time off. Definitely day games after night games, and perhaps strategically placed so he can have multiple days off in a row.
Fans are sometimes frustrated with Andrew Knapp's batting average. But receiving-wise he is well respected by pitchers. He could play more, or someone else, such as prospect Rafael Marchan could play more, if not traded.
What do you see as the left side of the infield next season? Changes at SS and 3B? Maybe a free agent SS and Didi Gregorius to 3B? Platoon with Alec Bohm?
I think that there very little that is off the table for next year. The Phillies have simultaneously found that Alec Bohm is not what they got from him in 2020, and dealt with the pseudogout injury from Didi Gregorius. Bohm has not been able to show much at Triple-A as he has not played in over two weeks with a hand injury.
It will be hard to feel secure in the health of Gregorius or the output of Bohm going forward. It also seems that Bryson Stott will not be ready to be a starting position player in the major leagues by April.
I think that Dave Dombrowski will see what is available and move accordingly. It seems clear that the team values defense.
Would they be willing to trade someone such as Bohm to a team that has more time in developing him, or who can play him at another position or designated hitter? Do they move him to left field?
I think the Phillies need to add someone who is competent on the left side of the infield. I also think that someone such as Freddy Galvis should return as an extra man who can play a little more than not, particularly if he gets some of his missing speed back.
I think Jean Segura has been really good at second base. But if absolutely necessary the Phillies could move him to third base. But I think it's best they leave him alone.
This is the big shortstop free agency year, and Kris Bryant would love to play with his friend Bryce Harper (but only if the deal is right, of course). We will have to see how the Phillies spend their money, who they are able to sign, and what trades they can make.
There is no obvious internal solution, but I expect the Phillies to be busy.
Is Aaron Nola pitching his way into off season trade talks?
The Phillies were counting on Aaron Nola to be an ace in 2021. The "Is Aaron Nola an ace?" conversation seems to have stopped...because he has not pitched well enough. In Nola's last eight starts, he has managed to pitch more than 5 1/3 innings just once. Many of them were days the Phillies needed Nola to step up in a big way. He has not.
Usually, selling low is not a good idea. But I think that there would be plenty of teams salivating at the chance to get Nola back on track and would not mind trading real prospects for him. The Phillies could use an infusion of talent.
But to make the move, the Phillies would need to get good value in return. They certainly do not need to move Nola. They could be the ones who hope for a strong rebound in 2022.
A move could also depend on who the Phillies can get to fill out the rotation. With the recent news that Zach Eflin might not be ready to start the 2022 season puts a hole in the starting rotation. Can the Phillies acquire multiple starters?
If I'm the Phillies, I might try to sign Tyler Anderson as a free agent. He is the pitcher the Phillies almost traded for from the Pirates. He might be a lower-cost, lower-length option to back up Eflin.
The Phillies would need another pitcher beyond that who has some level of impact if they trade Nola. If they cannot get fill the rotation spot and they cannot get value in return, I think the Phillies would hold on to him.
Nola has one year remaining on his contract at $15 million, with the option for $16 million in 2023, or else they will pay a $4.25 million buyout.