I love all of the players I'm going to ask to be traded and I have had this belief that this is what this team needs to do for about a year now. This is not an angry hot take from what became a hilarious loss to the reds 12-4 last night. This is a serious article and I'd like the discussion around it to be serious as well, not some mocking "don't get so angry over one loss from last night." This post has been coming for a while
Clearing things up:
I want to be perfectly clear about what I want to see. I do not want a "soft rebuild" or "reset". I want a full on 4-5 year rebuild where the team auctions off as much as they can for prospects. This point is key for later points I will make in this article. I don't wanna see a "oh well that won't help the team win in 2-3 years" comment because this is article isn't making a plan to compete in 2-3 years. Also this article operates under the assumption that Middleton isn't an interfering owner. There's no proof that he wouldn't allow for a full rebuild if DD told him that it was the best course of action.
Why blow it up?
I already wrote a fanpost called something like "The case for another rebuild". So I won't go too in depth into it, but in short they don't have any prospects to replace guys who are leaving, so they will be forced to spend all the money that they will accquire when the current free agents leave on simply replacing those free agents, preventing the team from getting significantly better which needs to happen to win the division in the coming years.
So who do we get rid of?
The players this team should dump at the deadline or in the offseason are as follows. JT, Hoskins, Wheeler, Eflin, Nola, Neris, Cutch, Segura, Herrera, and I'm sure someone would give a lottery ticket for Brad Miller. All of the mentioned players have value on them in the trade market and there are teams who would be head over heels to get them. They would absolutley refill the prospect pool with players who could acutally make up a young core. You know, like we were trying to build before Klentak and Mcfail supposedly wanted to do before they suddenly turned the 2018 team from a young cheap roster that barely missed the playoffs because of a collapse into an old and expensive team that collapses and doesn't make the playoffs. That's not to say all the veteran signings were bad, but that's a different article.
But the Salary
Now the immediate response to saying we need to trade Wheeler and JT is that, "oh we can't do that because their contracts are too expensive and no team would want to take them on."
Then eat their salaries. Seriously, this is a 4-5 year plan and the team won't need that money for a while anyways so why should we worry about that? Teams would give a ton for JT or one of the best pitchers in the NL right now. Eating the salaries makes even more teams be potentially interested in JT besides maybe just the Yankees.
But some of these guys are still young!
Again, this is a 4-5 year plan. Nola will be 32-33 when it's done, Wheeler will be 34-35, and JT will likely be in full decline. The only guy you might keep is Eflin seeing as how he'd be 31-32 at this point. The simple fact is that pitchers tend to regress quickly, and if you want this new theoretical roster to not fall apart in five seconds then you need the pitching staff to not just be a bunch of guys in their mid 30's.
But we can't develop players!
A common point that irritates the hell out of me is the "we can't even develop or scout players that we trade for so why should we try it now?" Ok so your point is that most likely people we accquire will not be good because we suck at player development?
Well that needs to change, which is why I'd like to also see a lot of the player development shot out of a cannon and into the sun. You can not have a successful franchise ever without developing your own players. even the Yankees tried that in the 2013-2016 time frame and the best they got was mediocrity. You NEED young players to come up and succeed. Free agents are meant to supplement a roster, not be most of the roster. On a Wheeler day we have 5 of the 9 players in the field be free agent signings. That is not a formula for long term success.The Phillies have to try, and hopefully with the amount of guys you get from jettisoning all the players mentioned above it works like the Soviet Union in WWII and some get through just because of the sheer number of prospects.
So my answer to that point in short is: They still need to try. Just because they failed in 2015 with a terrible GM when they made the Hamels trade doesn't mean they will fail now. Most of the rebuilding didn't come under the Klentak regime, most of their time was waiting for guys like Williams and Alfaro to develop. The only real big trade I believe that they made for more young players was the... Ken Giles trade.
Against a "soft" rebuild:
The Phillies are not going to win with only minor changes to this roster like signing a couple more bullpen arms in the offseason. I know that everyone is hyper focused on that right now and thinking "oh if we just got a good pen we could be in the pennant race!" That may be true if this whole team stuck together. We need a new left fielder, center fielder, third baseman, and bullpen after this season. Now, unless you somehow think that the career terrible minor league hitters in Maton and Williams will suddenly learn how to hit in the majors then this is a true list.
I said this in a recap post but the cost for just getting I'd say decent players to fill all those whole woud be very very high. You will spend all of your freed up money from losing Cutch and Odubel on replacing them and maybe filling third base. You will not have money for the bullpen or the middle infield (I'm assuming that we're never going to reliably have Didi for long stretches again because that injury sound chronic and basically won't ever go away).
"But if we just made some smart trades/signings":
The people who argue this and also argue that we can't sell off guys for prospects confound me, you're contradicting yourself by saying we aren't a smart org and then basically saying "well if we're smart we can make a bunch of trades and rip some teams off". If you don't have the opinion that the Phillies aren't good enough at scouting prospects so they'll just trade for bad ones then I'll let you have this point, because at least you're not being inconsistent.
You know who the Phillies are right now? They are the 2017 Orioles. The Orioles that year weant 75-87, were getting older and had no farm system to speak of. They had one or two really superstar players in Adam Jones and Manny Machado on the roster still. They thought that they could still compete the next season and lost 118 games. Now I'm aware of all the points here "oh they have less money" or "well we have more high end talent than they did", Fair, but also we have the same internal issues with no farm system and terrible international signings. We also can't compete with the big boys in our division, as a reminder the Mets are slowly getting further away without Nimmo, JD Davis, Syndegard, Carasco, Vilar, and Famillia. When a lot of those guys get back the Mets are going to leave the Phillies in the dust. Oh yeah and Lindor hasn't lived up to his contract yet, this could be another LOL Mets contract, (I'd love it if it was) but I doubt it.
The wild card isn't going to be open for years because of the NL West, and the Braves and Mets should easily outclass the Phillies in terms of talent and how long that talent will be on their roster. The Phillies need a massive overhaul and this is the time to decide wether or not to do it because a lot of their assets go bye bye after this year, and the ones that don't lose value with every passing year. The longer they wait, the worse it is going to be when the FO finally realizes that they do in fact need to tear it all down.
Do not treat me as some knee jerk reactor here. I have thought this through, I don't relish the idea of sucking for another 4-5 years, but when I look at this organization right now I see no future if we stay the current course. This team as of right now is like the 2012 team where we are all going "oh our one big prospect will save us!" Only in this case instead of Dominic Brown it's Bryson Stott.