The Phillies have officially begun their GM search, as Andy MacPhail told reporters, including MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, that they’ve interviewed one candidate. MacPhail, unsurprisingly, declined to specify the candidate in question, though he said the goal is still to have a new GM in place by the team’s organizational meetings, which begin on Oct. 26.
A few more notes on the Phils…
- Via Zolecki, MacPhail also said the Phillies aren’t likely to spend on top-tier free agents this winter, though he didn’t completely shut the door. “[D]o you really want to commit after you’ve just been in that pool and suffered from it?” MacPhail asked rhetorically. “Do you really want to commit at this stage? The only caveat I give you is that if there’s a unique opportunity out there, I wouldn’t want to preclude it from happening … particularly when you consider that once we get to ’17 we are really pretty footloose and fancy free.” The Phillies have no contracts guaranteed beyond the 2017 season.
- That, of course, doesn’t mean the Phillies will sit on their hands. Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News was also on hand and offers additional quotes from MacPhail, who does believe the Phillies “absolutely” feel a need to be active, just not necessarily on top-of-the-market names. The veteran exec made it clear that he doesn’t feel obligated to spend simply because this year’s free agent crop of starting pitchers is deep. “I know everyone can say, oh, my God, next year’s class isn’t as good as this year’s class,” said MacPhail. “Let’s see a year from now. And it may come in the form of making a trade. You don’t know. But I think the important thing is to do it when that foundation is there that merits it and supports it.”
- MacPhail also said that he expects Ryan Howard to be with the team in Spring Training next season, per Lawrence. He left open the possibility that an opportunity could present itself which may benefit Howard and the Phillies, but stated that for now, Howard is “somebody we have a vested interest in getting back healthy and getting him to Clearwater.”
- The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jake Kaplan writes that Phillies players are excited by the news that manager Pete Mackanin was extended through the 2016 season. Kaplan offers quotes from a number of young players, including Ken Giles, Jerad Eickhoff, Aaron Nola and Cameron Rupp, who have thoroughly enjoyed playing for Mackanin, whose new contract also contains a club option for the 2017 campaign.
MacPhail also said the Phillies aren’t likely to spend on top-tier free agents this winter, though he didn’t completely shut the door.
That’s my Andy! The thing is though, the Phillies are not just one player away.
So, maybe he is right.
They need to rebuild that rotation and they need to figure out where the can strengthen their weaknesses on the field and more than anything get Franco healthy and ready for the 2016. He is one player on the Phillies that has perennial ‘all-star’ written all over him.
A number of the current positional weaknesses of the Phillies actually have relatively near-to-the-bigs replacements. The heir-apparent to Rollins, JP Crawford (a current top-10 prospect), just spent most of the year in AA at age 20. Odubel Herrera appears to be the CF of the foreseeable future, with Aaron Altherr (who’s come on amazingly strong in both MiLB and MLB stints over the past 2 years) also capable of playing there. Other potential nearby outfield options include Roman Quinn (who’d come back strong after injury, only to get nailed with another one), the recently-acquired Nick Williams, and Kelly Dugan, who’s hit his first significant challenge in AAA at age 24.
Franco’s injury is just a relatively simple bone break, so he should be back just fine next year. Angelo Mora surprised everyone by thoroughly handling AA pitching in his first time facing it, though he’s likely destined for LF or 1B, despite currently playing 2B. Brock Stassi’s bat has come on incredibly strong in his second year at AA, but even if he never does well enough at the MLB level to play 1B regularly, Rhys Hoskins is showing a ton of potential at A+.
On the catching front, Cameron Rupp looks surprisingly capable this year, but sitting in the minors is the ridiculous-hitting Andrew Knapp (sporting an OPS over 1.000 in his first partial season in AA) and even your old friend Gabriel I-was-traded-for-Jim-Thome Lino has been showing promise in AA and AAA at age 22.
Pitching, especially starting pitching, is definitely their primary need right now. They’ve got a ton of mid-rotation prospects, but at the moment only one kid down in A- who looks to have “Ace potential” (Kilome).
Tl;DR: While it’s true they’re more than just one piece away, they’ve got a lot of prospect options to fill many of their positional holes in the next 1-2 years, and look likely to have the #1 pick next year (and therefore also the largest international bonus pool), which is more than can be said for their pitching prospects. Signing David Price, for instance, doesn’t put them over the top in 2016, but it gives them a shot in 2017, and there’s no way they can build a successful rotation entirely internally before 2020 (waiting for which would be just silly). The Phillies also have one of the lowest salary obligations in MLB come 2017, while having the spending power of one of the highest-payroll teams.
Mackanin decision was a good one. The players enjoy playing for him, he reminds me of Madden from the Tampa Bay days.
if you’re going to pull a 76ers season, don’t be a pathetic ownership and then charge full ticket prices like the morons who own the 76ers did
The 76ers don’t have a $65MM/year TV contract.