There is No Quick Fix for the Phillies
When Ronald Torreyes went down swinging on Thursday night it marked the 10th straight season that the Philies will not be a part of the postseason, after being swept in Atlanta by the Braves.
"This is a proud franchise," Phillies manager Joe Girardi stated. "We need to break this streak. We're going to do whatever it takes, everything we can to do it I can tell you that. There is such a commitment from the top down. We're going to do everything we can,"
The Phillies needed a lot to go right this week to even have a shot, but getting swept just starts the offseason clock a little earlier then maybe they had hoped. Now the team has to answer a plethora of questions to try and fix this roster.
"Extreme disappointment," Girardi said after the loss. Because of what we put into it. When you have a chance in the last week and you don't get it done, its extreme disappointment."
"The bottom line is we didn't get it done," an emotional Girardi continued. To me that's the only reason to put this uniform on, to compete and to win."
So which players on the current roster will be here to try and get the Phillies back into the playoffs?
Bryce Harper, J.T Realmuro and Zack Wheeler might be the only three that are safe. Everyone else could be moved or replaced, we could be in for a wild offseason.
Lets go around the diamond.
The team went a mediocre 55-52 with Rhys Hoskins in the lineup and a mediocre 26-26 without him. The 28-year old missed the final month of the season to receive abdominal surgery, clubbing 27 home runs and hitting .241 this year. He is also not the best defensive first baseman, but could be a candidate to be the teams DH if the universal DH is put into the National League.
While he is not the problem, he has been a main part of the core of the team that simply hasn't been good enough to get the team to the playoffs.
Don't be surprised if Dave Dombrowski moves Hoskins just to shake things up.
Over at second base, Jean Segura has his best season in a Phillies uniform, hitting .290 with 14 home runs and 58 RBI. Even though he slumped down the stretch, he was a productive player for most of the season, but at 31, you maybe have gotten his best season.
Segura is signed for one more season at $14.25 million.
Shortstop will be an interesting position to keep an eye on with Didi Gregorius signed for one more season at $14.5 million. It is no secret that the 31-year old struggled, both at the plate and in the field. He hit a measly .209 with 13 homers and 53 RBI, while making a team-high 18 errors in the field.
The team can go down the free agent route, with a talented class of shortstops available this offseason. They could rush top prospect Bryson Stott to the majors, after he played seven games at Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season, which is unlikely. They could also turn back to Gregorius for the final year of his deal and hope he has a better season -- which I think is doubtful.
One name on the free agent list to watch would be Colorado's Trevor Story, who is expected to leave the Rockies and is hitting .253 with 24 homers, 74 RBI and offers top-notch defense.
Bigger names like Carlos Correa and Corey Seager might be out of the Phillies price range.
Third base is another wild card.
The team could give former No. 3 overall pick and Rookie of the Year runner-up, Alec Bohm another shot at the hot corner, or move him to another position and try to find a replacement for him. Kris Bryant, a friend of Bryce Harper, could be a name to keep an eye on. Bryant was traded from Chicago to San Francisco this season and can play both third or left field, another position the Phillies will need to fix. Bryant was solid, but not spectacular, hitting .264 with 24 home runs in 142 games with both the Cubs and Giants.
The outfield will likely need two new pieces with McCutchen, 35, set to become a free-agent and Odubel Herrera eligible for a buyout. ($11.5 million club option ($2.5 million buyout).
While the outfield free agent list isn't great, the team could target an older player like Oakland's Sterling Marte for centerfield. Marte will be 33 next season, but having one of his best years hitting career-high .308 with 12 home runs and a MLB-high 45 stolen bases.
One under-the-radar name to consider if he opts out of his deal on a a short-term deal would be A.J. Pollock. The 33-year old is hitting .302 with 20 home runs and nine stolen bases playing left field for the Dodgers.
Zack Wheeler has established himself as the new ace of the staff after Aaron Nola struggled for the third straight season after a Cy Young worth 2018.
Nola's struggles will be something to keep an eye on.
Will Dombrowski try to use Nola to add talent through a trade and move on from their former first-round pick?
Can the team trust Zach Eflin again? Will Ranger Suarez be as effective as a starter in 2022?
They do have veteran Kyle Gibson back for another year after coming over in a trader at the deadline for Spencer Howard. Another pitcher obtained in that deal, Hans Crouse, who made his Major League debut on Sunday is also an option.
Other than the current group of starters, there isn't much in the system to help the starting roation, so don't be surprised if Nola isn't traded, that the rotation looks similar and the team turns its attention to trying to fix the bullpen -- again.
Its no secret the Phillies bullpen has been a mess for the past four seasons. It blew a league-high 34 saves this season and cycled through multiple closers. Fixing a bullpen is never easy, relievers have good years and down years, they go up and down. One thing about bullpen arms seems to be inconsistency.
There are a few closers on the market, all of which have issues, but the team might have to bite the bullet and finally pay someone to close out games and maybe bring back guys like Hector Neris and Archie Bradley and put them in lesser roles.
"There is a lot to think about, quander and go over," Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen said.
He's not kidding. Sadly for the 10th straight season.
Atlantic County Bars to watch Football this season (alphabetical order)