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Adonis Medina might play a big part in 2021

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The former top prospect finally made his debut. Did he do enough to make the organization think about including him in 2021?

MLB: SEP 20 Blue Jays at Phillies Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The numbers:

1 G (1 GS), 4 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 HR, 3 BB, 4 K, 4.50 ERA (3.44 FIP)

The good:

Adonis Medina wasn’t really supposed to be a part of this team this year unless something bad happened.

Then something bad happened, mostly the Phillies’ pitching staff, COVID-19 and the league schedule makers for creating a living hell for the baseball team and their end of season plans. Called on to make his MLB debut in a pinch because the team didn’t have enough quality depth as September dragged on, Medina acquitted himself rather well. He was only able to get through four innings on September 20th against the Blue Jays, but it wasn’t the worst start in the world. From our recap that night:

His first two innings were rocky. He gave up two runs at the start of the first inning, walking Cavan Biggio to start the game, then allowing a double to Bo Bichette to put men on second and third. The nerves showed up during the next batter’s turn, as Medina balked in the first run, an inauspicious start to his career. He got the batter out on a pop-up to Alec Bohm, but allowed an RBI single to Lourdes Gurriel that made the score 2-0. Though he would throw a ton of pitches over the next few innings, he would settle down and only allow those two runs over four innings.

So, yeah, it seems like the team might’ve found something here.

The bad:

It still feels like Medina has been a prospect forever and that he has always come with somewhat high expectations. He’s always been bandied about as a trade possibility since the team is so flush with pitching prospects, but it’s always felt like there was supposed to be something more.

It’s hard to be disappointed with Medina, but if we’re looking for something bad - dude, don’t balk.

The future:

Alright, let’s talk money.

Matt Gelb wrote the other day about how the team will approach the offseason and with so many pending questions, this is a quote that stuck out.

The team’s winters are often defined by one number, the payroll budget, but it’s never been like it is now. Managing partner John Middleton has stressed the need for the Phillies to reduce expenditures, and player salaries represent at least half of the organization’s total. Even if the Phillies wish to reduce their payroll by 10 percent, for example, that translates to $21 million. Or, roughly, the savings from Jake Arrieta’s contract coming off the books.

We all know that the team’s biggest decision involves J.T. Realmuto and how much they are willing to pay him. Yet because of this decision and the fact that Realmuto might want to stretch his own decision until well into the offseason in order to see what the financial landscape of the game might look like, the team might have to make some decisions of its own about what the rest of the roster might look like much earlier than they would have liked. Gelb mentioned how the team might not be bringing back Vince Velasquez at the arbitration number he’d command, plus they’ll most definitely be declining Jake Arrieta’s options, meaning they’ll have to come up with two more options for the rotation. One possibility that the team is most certainly mulling over is that of promoting from within the organization - but who? Spencer Howard is most likely getting at the very least a looooooong look, but again there is still one more spot. The most cost effective solution would be to go with someone still in their pre-arbitration years, but they don’t have many options like that.

That brings us to Medina. His debut wasn’t lights out, but it also wasn’t embarrassing either. He showed that he does have some major league stuff and that he should be given a shot to earn that spot in the rotation, but the start did have some Velasquez-esque vibes to it. Lots of pitches, but only a few innings to show for it. While it might not be enough on the stat sheet, the number next to his name in the team’s ledger might carry more weight that we think when it comes to setting the 2021 roster.

It’s a sad state of the team, and the league as a whole, when they have to make as many roster choices based more on money than on talent, but that’s going to be to Medina’s potential benefit. While money has always been a part of the equation, it seems like 2021, it’ll add an exponent. If Medina can continue working this offseason, let’s hope he can be a real find for the team.

If not - hey.

It’s not like the bullpen is full.