By Austin Darrow l CNB SPORTS
For every fan that is sitting back watching the MLB postseason without their team in it, I am right there with you. Some people may have seen what the Minnesota Twins did and think that their team has that same chance.
Let’s not get your hopes up too high. Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, every team besides the Nationals in the NL East, Cincinnati Reds, San Francisco Giants, and San Diego Padres, your time will come but maybe not as fast as the Twins.
Giants fans, you might be able to see the playoffs next season, considering Madison Bumgarner was out the whole year.
I am mainly going to focus on my Philadelphia Phillies, because they are not going to make that jump that fast.
As a matter of fact, they managed to take a step back in the rebuild process, while the rest of the Philly teams have progressed forward.
Coming off a very shocking 75-win 2016 season, expectations were high, and by that, I mean expecting the same number of wins or just a bit more.
Instead they dropped to 66 wins. And they dropped their manager who was expected to stay during the rebuild process.
Dusty Wathan who coached the Reading Phillies from 2012-16 and the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs this past season could be a good hire. Considering he has managed most of this Phillies roster already. So, he understands the young talent and knows how to get the best out of them.
Another guy would be Joe Maddon’s right hand man in Chicago, Dave Martinez. He is the right-hand man of the best manager in baseball so that speaks volumes and he has learned a lot. Obviously, he would need a good reason to leave a perennial World Series team for the next five to seven years.
The Phillies young talented core could draw a lot of good managers out of hiding and make them want to come to Philly. This isn’t a washed-up team living in the old days anymore, this is a team who has the potential to be in the postseason in the upcoming seasons.
For the Phillies to make that jump like the Twins did, they are going to need to make some big-time splashes in free agency and make some deals as well.
Right now, their lineup would look like Nick Williams, Aaron Altherr, and Odubel Herrera in the outfield. The infield will be changed next year, but right now it would be Rhys Hoskins, Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis, Maikel Franco, and J.P. Crawford.
My take is that the Phillies will trade Franco and Tommy Joseph this offseason. Hoskins will go to his natural position, first base. Crawford will remain at third and Freddy Galvis will stay because his defensive work has been special.
Hernandez is also another guy who could be dealt, and he would land some good players or prospects. He is a career .284 hitter and an average defender at second base, and he is only 27. For any contending team in need of a reliable second baseman he is the guy they need.
I think he’ll be dealt considering the year Scott Kingery had in the minors this year. He is 23 and hit .304 combined in Double and Triple-A.
Franco, Joseph, and Hernandez will likely be dealt this winter and get back very good prospects. Franco and Joseph would excel on an American League team where they don’t have to play their positions and can be primary DH’s.
I would also keep an eye on Herrera as he could be dealt too. Dylan Cozens may not have hit as well as the Phillies had hoped in Triple-A this year, but he is only 23 and brings a powerful bat with him, so I think if he shows promise in the minors next year or even gets called up late in the year, Herrera could be the odd man out.
As for pitching though, the Phillies can only rely on Aaron Nola, the other young starters didn’t take a step forward this season. Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, and Zach Eflin all looked bad and didn’t prove anything this year.
I’d expect Velasquez to be traded as well and maybe one of the other two. Jake Thompson could be a back-end starter for the Phillies next season. I expect the Phillies to go after pitching this offseason. That was Mackanin’s primary concern and still is for the front office.
Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish are the top starting pitchers in the free agent class. Darvish could possibly re-sign with the Dodgers and Arrieta might be a risk. Both are over 30 years old, and don’t really appeal to a team who is going to struggle for another year or two.
If they want that ace or another couple of arms to be consistent throughout the year, they’ll need to do it via trade.
Hector Neris and Luis Garcia looked good in the second half of the season. Addison Reed of the Red Sox will be a free agent and he is a good arm out of the pen. Bryan Shaw of the Indians is also an attractive middle relief arm.
The best closer is Wade Davis, but he will most likely be overlooked by the Phillies.
The Phillies will not be in the postseason next season unless they manage to acquire another two consistent starting pitchers, and one or two consistent arms out the pen.