The Phillies...have a lot to address whether, its their coaching staff, players, etc. We asked 15 of these hard questions to our writing staff and come up with the following predictions. Leave your predictions and thoughts in the comments!
Most importantly, we start with the vacant manager’s position with the firing of Gabe Kapler following the end of the 2019 season and what is to come next.
Who do you WANT to be the next Phillies manager?
Joe Girardi - Jay Polinsky, Smarty Jones, schmenkman, Victor Filoromo, Allie Foster, John Stolnis, Cormican, Paul Boye, Alex Carr
Dusty Baker - Ethan Witte
Surprising? Joe Girardi comes with a World Series pedigree, managing stars and having the respect of his players. He’s smart and brings a healthy balance of analytics and natural baseball instincts to a game. His choice will likely boil down to his preference to the Phillies and the Mets. As the Mets interview more inexperienced candidates by the day, so I’m leaning towards the Phillies interest (and offer) being the stronger of the two if it comes down to money. Girardi comes in for a second interview today with the Phillies. Old Dusty Baker received one vote and certainly wouldn’t be the worst choice of candidates out there.
Who do you THINK will be the next Phillies manager?
Buck Showalter - Jay Polinsky, Smarty Jones, Victor Filoromo, Allie Foster, John Stolnis, Cormican, Ethan Witte, Paul Boye, Alex Carr
Joe Girardi - schmenkman
We are a jaded bunch huh? Listen, Buck Showalter isn’t a bad choice. He’s managed a ton of great teams that haven’t gone on to win a World Series. There are a ton of those managers. With the organization’s connection to the Orioles, it just seems like a foregone conclusion that Showalter is the easy frontrunner for the opening. I think the fans are ready for the Phillies to distance themselves from the Orioles way of doing business and managing a baseball roster.
Does Gabe Kapler get another managerial job next season?
Yes - Victor Filoromo, schmenkman, Allie Foster, John Stolnis, Cormican, Ethan Witte, Alex Carr
No - Jay Polinsky, Smarty Jones, Paul Boye
Speaking of managers, Gabe Kapler’s tenure ended in massive amounts of frustration after massive amounts of promise after key free agent signings and successful starts to the season. Was he a bad manager? I’m not totally convinced, but I am sure that he wasn’t the right fit for this team. He and GM Matt Klentak’s choices for hitting/pitching coaches were an absolute disaster. Kapler rightly deserves enough blame for that. This begs the question...does he find another job right away? Most on TGP seem to think so, with additional speculation that he will land in San Francisco, where he has interviewed.
Name one player, trade or FA, you want to be on the Phillies in 2020
Gerrit Cole - Jay Polinsky, Smarty Jones, Victor Filoromo, schmenkman, Allie Foster, John Stolnis, Ethan Witte, Paul Boye, Alex Carr
Stephen Strasburg - Cormican
Give us Gerrit Cole, Middleton! Cole may well be the best pitcher in the game and he will be a free agent following the conclusion of the World Series (where his Astros can win it, btw). Just pairing him with Aaron Nola would instantly swing the balance of the division in a huge way. Stephen Strasburg can opt out of his contract following the season (also in the World Series!). Does a WS win sway him either way? Time will tell, but a healthy Strasburg has been just as good as mult-Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer.
Where will Gerrit Cole land?
Yankees - Jay Polinsky, schmenkman, John Stolnis, Cormican, Ethan Witte, Paul Boye, Alex Carr
Phillies - Smarty Jones, Allie Foster
Angels - Victor Filoromo
Speaking of Gerrit Cole, who will he end of signing with? Its never a bad guess to pick the Yankees, who would be scary good adding an arm like Cole to their rotation. There is optimism in TGP that he will ultimately end up with the Phillies. I can’t imagine Middleton not matching any top offer, but does Cole WANT to come here? The Angels would be wise to add the best pitcher in the game to a team featuring Mike Trout (Arte Moreno isn’t wise).
Where will Anthony Rendon land?
Nationals - Jay Polinsky, Smarty Jones, Victor Filoromo, schmenkman, Allie Foster, John Stolnis, Cormican, Alex Carr
White Sox - Ethan Witte, Paul Boye
Anthony Rendon will be the best offensive weapon available this offseason. You can’t imagine the Nationals letting him walk (potentially after a World Series win) in which they let their other superstar walk the year before and could see Strasburg leave after the season as well. If he does, they will certainly have competition from the White Sox who let poor decisions dictate them missing out on both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado last offseason.
Which player will be the Phillies biggest offseason addition?
Stephen Strasburg - Jay Polinsky, schmenkman, Ethan Witte, Alex Carr
Gerrit Cole - Smarty Jones, Allie Foster
Cole Hamels - Victor Filoromo
Hyun-Jin Ryu - John Stolnis
Rick Porcello - Cormican
Mike Moustakas - Paul Boye
Is it common knowledge that the Phillies need to improve their rotation? We need (good) pitching and we needed it yesterday. I (and others) believe Strasburg is going to opt-out and will be the Phillies fallback to when Gerrit Cole chooses elsewhere. Bryce Harper could be a great recruiting tool there and the Phillies will have the cash to spend on the talented pitcher. Cole Hamels would be a fun reunion, but isn’t more than a #3 or #4 pitcher at this point in his career and wouldn’t bode well for their “biggest” offseason addition (IMO). Ryu would be a great add if he decides to leave the Dodgers (I have my doubts). Mike Moustakas would fill a nice hole at 3B, but could potentially block Alec Bohm (that one of two really good prospects we have). You could displace Rhys which leads me to...
Would you look to trade Rhys Hoskins this offseason?
Yes - Jay Polinsky
No- Literally everyone else
My Rhys Hoskins star is slowing dying out. For two seasons now he has been an average offensive player with below average defensive skills wherever he plays. Hoskins is a great guy and one that hasn’t diminished in is his plate discipline. I’m hesitant to wait much longer to determine if he breaks out of this “slump”. I’m afraid to call it a slump because slumps usually don’t last two years. Trading him while he still might have value and pursuing an Anthony Rendon, Mike Moustkas or even a 2-3 year deal of Josh Donaldson might be beneficial. Be gentle in the comments, please.
Does a J.T. Realmuto extension get done before the next season?
Yes - Jay Polinsky, Smarty Jones, Victor Filoromo, schmenkman, Allie Foster, John Stolnis, Cormican, Alex Carr
No - Paul Boye
Praying - Ethan Witte
Maybe its not their most important offseason task given that he still has one season left on his contract, but if there was ever someone I wanted on this team for the foreseeable future it is JT Realmuto. JT established himself as the best catcher in the game, mashing at the plate and executing flawlessly behind it. Cross your fingers...or pray with Ethan.
Which arbitration-eligible player do the Phillies surprise us with a tender?
Andrew Knapp - Jay Polinsky, Cormican
Edubray Ramos - Smarty Jones, schmenkman
Maikel Franco - Victor Filoromo
Cesar Hernandez - Allie Foster
Mike Morin - John Stolnis, Ethan Witte
Jerad Eickhoff - Paul Boye
Adam Morgan - Alex Carr
Perhaps we are playing favorites or just dreading our predicted outcomes? Either way we are all over the place. Knapp would be inexpensive and you can stash him in AAA if Grullon wins the backup job in Spring Training. Ramos is oft-injuried, but shown flashes last year that he is capable of being in a major league bullpen. Franco and Hernandez would both be incredibly surprising to be brought back. Franco has run out of chances to harness his potential and Hernandez will simply be too expensive to bring back. Mike Morin and Jerad Eickhoff both struggled when healthy and who I see no real future on this team. Adam Morgan wouldn’t be much of a surprise to me as he’s been very good when he’s able to stay on the field.
Do you overpay to bring Corey Dickerson back?
Yes - Smarty Jones
No - everyone else
Give credit where it is due, Matt Klentak did an excellent job by bringing in Corey Dickerson last season. He slashed .293/.307/.579 with 8 homers in 133 at-bats with the Phillies (just don’t look at the K/BB). A half a win player in 34 games isn’t too bad and a 4-5 win pace over a full season would be incredible. Problem now is you have Harper as a fixture in RF and Andrew McCutchen coming off a torn ACL who you probably don’t want to push to play CF. Unfortunately Dickerson is LF-only and that would make you move things around to accommodate.
Do the Phillies find a way to rid themselves of Odubel Herrera?
Yes - Jay Polinsky, Victor Filoromo, schmenkman, Allie Foster, John Stolnis, Paul Boye, Alex Carr
No - Smarty Jones, Cormican, Ethan Witte
Odubel Herrera is on his way out, it will just be a matter of how the Phillies are able to do it. I’m guessing they have already brainstormed every work-around to figure out how to release him from his contract. Will it come to pass or will they get pushback from the MLBPA?
How many of Vince Velasquez, Zach Eflin or Nick Pivetta will be featured in the starting rotation to begin the season?
1 - Jay Polinsky, Victor Filoromo, schmenkman, Allie Foster, John Stolnis, Cormican, Ethan Witte, Alex Carr
2 - Paul Boye
The Phillies went into the season with this trio, hoping for breakouts specifically from Eflin and Pivetta. Flash forward to right now and we saw Pivetta crash and burn, Velasquez be Velasquez and Eflin finally gain his footing in September. The TGP collective agreed that Eflin is likely the only one penned into the rotation for 2020 with the other two destined for the bullpen in a full-time role (finally!).
Are Alec Bohm and Spencer Howard untouchable in a trade?
Yes - Jay Polinsky, schmenkman, Allie Foster, Cormican
No - Smarty Jones, Victor Filoromo, John Stolnis, Ethan Witte, Paul Boye, Alex Carr
The staff was a bit split here and they almost always are with prospects/trades. Free agency isn’t the only tool the Phillies can use to improve for 2020. Their top prospects are both Top 100 MLB prospects that would have to be included in a trade for a significant player. At the moment, both Bohm and Howard are doing incredibly well in the Arizona Fall League after hugely successful 2019 regular seasons. They represent long-term solutions at key areas (3B and SP). Tough, right?
Does an above-average offseason put them on the same level as the Nationals and Braves?
Yes - Jay Polinsky, Smarty Jones, schmenkman, Allie Foster, John Stolnis, Cormican, Ethan Witte, Paul Boye, Alex Carr
No - Victor Filoromo
The question is, how far are the Phillies from the Nationals and Braves? One team won the division handily and the other is four wins away from their first World Series title. The Phillies won 81 games this season after leading the NL East for nearly three months before an epic collapse. That was only up one win from the 2018 season. TGP knows they can do better, the fans know as well. Loading up on Gerrit Cole/Stephen Strasburg and figuring out the rotation will go a long way in boosting the Phillies back up. I’m not convinced the Phillies were nearly as bad as they showed July-September. They’ve rightfully dropped their poorly invested hitting coach, pitching coach and manager. Things will get better, than have to.