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Suddenly feeling better about the Phillies in 2021

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With new leadership and a buyer’s market, the Phils are changing course this off-season.

Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

With a little over a month left before spring training is scheduled to begin, the Phillies have spent $6 million this off-season.

If that doesn’t sound like much, you’re not wrong.

Early in the off-season, owner John Middleton all but said the team was going to pull back on its payroll in 2021 because of the pandemic that affected last year’s attendance and is almost sure to affect this year’s, too. Fans weren’t happy about the prospect of a team that has missed the playoffs for nine straight years suddenly buttoning up and deciding not to make the team better. This all happened while the New York Mets went on a shopping spree, the Atlanta Braves made some key additions, and the Washington Nationals added a couple pieces as well.

But suddenly, here in mid-January, there is renewed optimism that the Phillies may actually do some things. They’re the surprising leaders in the J.T. Realmuto sweepstakes, they appear ready to add a shortstop, perhaps even fan favorite Didi Gregorius, potentially another starter or two, another reliever and perhaps even a fourth or fifth outfielder.

In a news conference yesterday, President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski said he “has a pulse” on what Middleton and the rest of the ownership group wants the payroll to be, but it’s clear the team seems ready to add more pieces than was initially anticipated. Some of that is due to the buyer’s market in which the team finds themselves, and some of it is due to the level of trust Middleton and others must have in Dombrowski.

On the latest edition of Hittin’ Season, I was joined by Liz Roscher and Justin Klugh and we talked at length about the Phils’ five-year, nine-figure offer to Realmuto and our levels of optimism at the team potentially inking him. Also on the docket:

  • The possible return of Gregorius
  • The introduction of their new reliever Archie Bradley
  • Our levels of optimism about the team
  • Some pandemic-related rules are returning this season

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