It may be nothing, but it may be something, too.
The Phillies’ rebuild started in earnest in 2015 when the team became committed to improving the farm system and traded their most prized possession, Cole Hamels, to the Texas Rangers. Since then, it’s been three long years of losing baseball and waiting.
Waiting for the prospects to mature. Waiting for them to be called up. Waiting for them to play well.
And now, many of them have been called up and are playing well. Rhys Hoskins is off to the best start of any power hitter in baseball history. Nick Williams continues to deliver big hit after big hit. Jorge Alfaro is a hitting machine, and his defense hasn’t been terrible, either. J.P. Crawford just got here, but he’s been fine so far.
But the pitching staff remains a disaster, outside of Aaron Nola and Ben Lively, who became the first Phillies pitcher not named “Aaron Nola” to pitch into the 8th inning of since early July. And the team continues to lose a ton of games, well on their way to a 100-loss pace.
In a piece by Fanrag Sports’ Jon Heyman last week, he noted that the pace of the rebuild may be wearing on some in the organization.
There are some who believe that some folks are getting impatient in Philly. But it isn’t known whether this will result in many or even any changes. They extended manager Pete Mackanin through 2018, so he should be safe.
Who could this be? It’s probably not Matt Klentak or Andy MacPhail. This is their timeline and things are likely moving at a pace they aren’t wholly surprised by. But it could be their boss, team owner John Middleton, who has embraced the description laid upon him by Jimmy Rollins as “Steinbrenner South.”
Of course, it may not be Middleton. Heyman did not name any names in his blind nugget. But if it is someone in a key decision-making position inside the front office, does that mean the Phillies could get more aggressive than we expect this off-season?
Does that mean the Phils could seriously go after Giancarlo Stanton or Christian Yelich? Does that mean they could go after Yu Darvish or Jake Arrieta? Does that mean they could trade for Michael Fulmer, Gerrit Cole or Chris Archer, if they’re available?
Time will tell. But even though the team has really only been rebuilding for three years, next year will mark the 10th anniversary of the 2008 world championship, a milestone that is certainly not lost on Middleton or anyone else inside the organization.
On this episode of The Felske Files, Justin Klugh and I discussed this, as well as the recent performance of Ben Lively, the improved second half from the Phillies’ offense, and whether or not the huge pile of one-run losses suffered by the team is actually a good harbinger of things to come in 2018.
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