First we start with the 9 returning starters:
And there’s a big problem with this - the Hoskins/Segura/Gregorius/Bohm defense kind of stunk in 2021 and I don’t think returning to it is a smart idea. But 1) Considering their 2021 seasons, I don’t think we can get anything really impactful for Didi or Bohm and 2) and I want to build a plan that has a future in it so.. We are stuck with Gregorius, at least until Stott is ready - and that may not be long. Maybe Didi rebounds, Stott is on the way.
Then we layer in the two Starters being offered Arbitration..
There is some chance that Eflin’s injury is too serious to return from - I don’t think that is now and I think he’s worth returning. Hoskins is a good deal too. I’m bringing ‘em back
Now we layer in the six returning bench and bullpen:
Mostly pitchers at major league minimum and Vierling - all are good enough to be a bargain…
Next - returning bench and bullpen that we offer arbitration:
So you could dump all of these guys and save some cash, but they all have potential to really help and To and Janko have really helped. I realize there will be some that thinking offering this much money to these guys is wasteful - but we don’t have a wealth of talent in the minors and the bench can help win divisions and beyond and Janko and To have proven to be occasionally clutch hitters and very useful.
Next - Day 1 promotions
Can’t start the season without a backup catcher - and there is another possibility as a backup (no not O’Hoppe - I like Marchan better - be patient) but I don’t want Knapp and I think it’s time to just have switch-hitting Marchan on the team
Here’s how we stand so far...
It is also 11 position players/hitters and 10 pitchers - meaning we need to add 2 hitters and 3 pitchers…
Probably good to start with the biggest salary and for that I was going with Kris Bryant - which would be basically almost Harper money and basically half of my free agent budget. I was thinking we’d start him in left field, but know we could move him to 3rd if Bohm couldn’t get it back. I would also love to pick up Freddie Freeman because I think we are going to have the DH forced on us but he’s very expensive and it doesn’t help us in the outfield.
Then I read the Phillies might be going for Kyle Schwarber and read about him and he’s basically Kris Bryant with a little less speed and more power at half the price - we’d be idiots to pay Kris Bryant. So he won’t be the biggest salary - but I’m going with Free Agent:
So who will be the biggest free agent signing? The biggest problem the Philies have is relief pitching and looking at the options. I like
As the ace.. He has been reliable and he’s mature but not geezerly. For setup - I’m also going to the free agent market - a lefty setup guy and a righty setup guy (and one of them familiar):
Now that leaves me with $47,000,000 spent on Free Agents and $4,328,000 left in the bank. I have salary for one more and I need a hitter/position player and there are two spots to fill: centerfield and designated hitter / 1st base if we get that. I can spend it all on one and paste the other together from the bench - or split it - but even with $ 4 million - I’m not going to get a primo talent. What I decided to do after looking at the stats was what I said I would never do.. I’m going to roll-back the clock to 2021 and sign:
The Phillies got a lot more than they paid Miller last year out of him and he can help this year if we get a DH even if Hoskins is healthy all year and he can platoon with Vierling again. He’s not expensive and just too useful. That leaves us with the centerfield problem we had at the beginning of 2021 - hoping Haseley or Quinn comes through or playing some platoon around Jankowski. But we got upgrades in several other key areas and we aren’t paying Herrera’s salary.
That’s it - we have $328,000 left in the bank - not enough to pay for a minimum wager.
I looked at the league, but I wound up bringing a lot of 2021 Phillies back (Neris, Miller, Janko, Torreyes) but I think those guys were great and we can use them again and the 2021 Phillies were not a team that needed gutting, they are a team that needed enhancing. This is still a young team - the oldest on it are relief pitchers and Gibson at 33 & 34. You can try and lock some of these down for a few years and build with this.
Let’s see the depth chart on the roster of 26:
That’s right, Schwarber started as a catcher - he could be your #3.
But wait! I didn’t make any trades! That’s right. All I hear is that the Phillies minor league system is drained and I didn’t really see anyone that the Phillies have that I wanted to trade out and I wanted to build for a two or three year future so…. I didn’t make any trades.
I think this is not the stuff of dreams - it is reasonable and achievable, maybe even too easy for a master wheeler dealer like Dombrowski.
What do my changes accomplish? I get another good bat to help Harper in Schwarber and I added two veteran, proven relievers and brought back Neris to close out the games our starters are winning. Quite frankly it doesn’t matter who is the fifth starting pitcher if we can’t hold the wins that Wheeler, Suarez, and Nola are winning for us. This team is younger than the 2021 Phillies, I didn’t mortgage the future for a quick win. But it is a familiar Phillies for the fans and clubhouse. There is continuity.
What are the remaining problems? Three..
Infield Defense - still sucks. But with more offense maybe it’ll hurt less and we can upgrade with Stott in the short run and maybe Bohm will bounce back and if we are forced to do the DH we can move Hoskins there.. I’m not a fan of spending big on a shiny FA shortstop and still paying Didi and not getting another real big bat..
Centerfield - we have all the same pieces (except Herrera) to try and again with improved offense. Maybe it won’t hurt so bad to try a few combinations to find the right ones. Ditto for the comments about SS above. I’m open to the criticism that I could have found a major league quality if not playoff quality centerfielder for the money I’m paying Brad miller. I’m open to that.
Injury - every team gets hurt by injuries - the ones that win pennants are the ones that step up to fill it and this includes the front office - who step up to fill the shoes of the fallen with deal (thinking Atlanta here). The 2021 Phillies did not step up when Hoskins went down and later when Eflin went down.
Thanks for reading. Let the ripping to shreds of this plan commence.