Philadelphia came into 2019 mired in a seven-year playoff drought, but an aggressive winter made the club a popular pick to turn around its fortunes this season. With the second half of the campaign now underway, the good news for the Phillies is that they are in possession of a playoff spot. The bad: It’s by the slimmest of margins.
Owners of an underwhelming 47-44 record and losers of 22 of 36 – including a 4-0 home defeat against the Nationals on Friday – the Phillies are tied with the Brewers for the NL’s last wild-card position. Earning a place in a one-game playoff appears to be Philly’s most realistic path to the postseason, as the team’s sputtering and sitting a lofty seven back of the first-place Braves in the NL East.
The Phillies have obvious weak points, including throughout their pitching staff, but it doesn’t seem they’re lining up as aggressive buyers with the July 31 trade deadline approaching. President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail spoke about the Philllies’ status with Todd Zolecki of MLB.com and other reporters Friday, admitting he and his front office cohorts “don’t believe” the roster’s one trade away from turning into a World Series winner.
MacPhail acknowledged that an extremely impressive run of baseball to end July could sway him toward a bolder deadline approach. As of now, though, MacPhail’s expecting “to be a little judicious and careful about what talent’s walking out the door” in trades. That suggests MacPhail and general manager Matt Klentak won’t be dealing any of the Phillies’ very best prospects away this summer, at least not for short-term help. However, the Phillies are willing to take advantage of their financial clout to better their roster. They could land upgrades by taking on salary in exchange for giving up “lesser talent,” as Zolecki writes. MacPhail certainly isn’t ruling it out.
“Our ownership has been pretty clear, and they’ve demonstrated by their actions, that salary is not something that is going to be … it has to make some sense, but that’s not going to be something that’s going to hold us back,” MacPhail said.
While it remains to be seen what the Phillies will do at the deadline, their 2019 is looking a bit too similar to their disappointing 2018 right now. The Phillies got off to a solid start then, even sitting atop the NL East from July 6 through Aug. 12, before petering out and finishing two games below .500. Acquiring several veteran stopgaps (Wilson Ramos, Asdrubal Cabrera, Justin Bour, Jose Bautista and others) couldn’t save the Phillies’ season a year ago. We’ll find out in the next two-plus weeks the caliber of help they’ll bring in this summer in an effort to return to the postseason.
Why look for answers from the ones who screwed up in the first place? Klentak must go too along with the horrendously inept manager Kapler.
Kapler is doing a fine job. The players like him and he makes good decisions in game more than not. Very tired of people blaming him when the team goes 0-for-6 with RISP. Are there better managers? Sure. But not nearly as many as people think.
You’re right frank. People look for easy answers and Kapler isn’t really a “Philadelphia” guy so fans tend to blame him for no reason. I remember fans wanting Charlie Manual fired before the team won in 2008.
You can be as self-righteous as you like, but responsibilities lie at the top of the chain.
Every one of Klentak’s trades looks awful right about now. So if you want to blame him that’s cool, but Kapler is working with the tools he has and I can’t really point to many loses and say this is on Kapler. His starters suck. His bullpen sucks. He has no offense. Somehow the team was in 1st for a bit.
A manager has two jobs:
1. Keep the morale in the clubhouse
2. Push the right buttons in game
He’s done both. The fact is that Klentak rolled the dice on the rotation and it’s coming back to bite them. The offense was also overrated from the jump. Realmuto is a painfully average MLB hitter. Segura is a good player, not a great player. And there’s a reason Bryce Harper only had two legitimate suitors in free agency. There isn’t a Freeman, Yelich, Bellinger or Trout in this lineup. It’s a collection of good, but streaky players. Add to it McCutchens injury and Odubels suspension and that’s not good.
The real problem lies within the management structure off the field. And their depth is a joke. They’ve done such a bad job of drafting, scouting and developing for a decade. There’s a reason a team like the Yankees were able to survive all of their injuries and the Phillies can’t survive a few.
Trade for pitching, buy hitting. They traded for hitting. They didn’t even buy pitching. Hard to win a pennant with only 1 pitcher worthy of a roster spot in the entire organization.
They also seem to be in love with these junk relievers who are never healthy. Best ability is availability… they kind of forgot that.
Time to fire a few folks maybe? Maybe it’s time to deal Hernandez, Franco, Bruce, Neshek, Nicasio, Hunter you know all the guys in the pen that haven’t played this year lol.
Everyone slammed the Braves for not doing enough in the off-season, particularly in regards to the bullpen. The Mets, Phillie’s and Nationals all made huge moves. And you look now, the Braves, after a horrible start from the bullpen, have the best ERA from the pen in the major leagues. Not just in the last 2 months, but for the whole season. And that is even with the bad start.
Josh Donaldson has been very good on a one year deal both offensively and defensively. Brian McCann has been very good at catcher. Nick Markakis has been good on a cheap deal.
I am excited that we gave up nothing and still got better. And now we have added Dallas Keuchel who has been very good so far. AA is doing a great job and I expect him to make a few more moves without breaking the bank in terms of Prospects. And Philly can keep that terrible Harper signing. Thank goodness the Braves did not go after that overpaid prima Donna.
If the Phillies didn’t sign Harper, it would be Nick Williams starting everyday. So criticize that signing all you want, but the team would be much worse without Harp who is somehow unfairly labeled because he is a media darling. Overrated? Certainly, but he has a great attitude and seems like a good clubhouse guy. Worth the money? Not at all what I’m saying. Just arguing against the “prima donna” label you gave him.
Braves pen is 3rd in ERA behind the rays and Indians, not not far off from the top
Their rotation is still a mess so that’s probably an area they’ll address with a stockpile of prospects to deal. I just wonder if AA has the stones to pull off a proper trade and not get another Kevin Gausman
As a Phillies fan, expectations were high. Looking more and more they overvalued their starting pitching. And the loss of McCutch at the top of the order was devastating. They have way too many holes with little farm capital to deal from unless they trade their top guys which, from what it sounds like, they aren’t going to do
when it comes down to it, Klentak did indeed not add the adequate starters in the offseason, but he’s not responsible for the offense’s struggles, which have been this team’s biggest issue. A lineup anchored by Harper, Segura, and Realmuto should be able to overshadow a bad rotation. how is klentak responsible for that? you can tell me it’s not a “winning culture,” you can tell me the manager or hitting coach should be fired, but i dont think all these things combined could be responsible for an offense so bad. i wanted to say it wasnt all on Harper before, but they did add him to be the guy in their offense, and he just hasnt done it. alas, this was to be expected about the overrated player he is.
Sure, it’s Harper’s fault…..
its not like he’s exactly played up to his talents so far
.173/.221/.259/.480 that’s the stat line of the person that would be in left field without him.
Very rarely do you see a newly constructed team perform well out of the gate. This offense has struggled all year, and it’s been as big as a problem as the lack of starting pitching.
To me, I think the Phillies lack depth. Outside of Harper, Segura, Realmuto, and maybe Kingerey and Hoskins, the team is made up of borderline bench players that shouldn’t be starting. Bruce has been fantastic, but remember he was aquired to be a piece off the bench, not an everyday player. Franco and Hernandez just aren’t great.
Now if you look at the Phillies hitters off the bench, I struggle to find a worse group in the majors. Lots of automatic outs.
You can’t patchwork a team of 4 hitters and a bunch of guys who can’t play.
Then look at the starting pitching. Outside of Nola (who struggled out of the gate), there isn’t a single reliable pitcher in the group.
The bullpen has been decimated with injuries. No pen in the majors has seen more guys on the IL. I think on paper it’s fine, but the injuries really took a toll. Plus the lack of starting pitching depth really overworks this team.
So all in all, I think the Phillies have major problems. They aren’t a hotsteak away from being competitive. They aren’t a few starting pitchere away from the playoffs. There are holes everywhere.
I think they should not be buyers at the deadline. They should concentrate on extending on Realmuto and look to add a few starters in the offseason.
extending Realmuto is a must since they don’t have to worry about trout anymore. If they get a wildcard I’ll be happy but this team was on pace to win the east, then the offense went ice cold, Nola looks to be back in 2018 form. Eflin looked like he was ready to break out until his last start. They need pitching fast.
Losing Cutch was a devastating blow to the line up and in the clubhouse, Cutch was their heartbeat. They should go after Adam Jones , maybe go get some pitching for this year and beyond.
While I don’t disagree about the Cutch injury the offense struggled even with Cutch in the lineup.
Cutch was the heartbeat of the offense, they struggled in some games with him there, but thats when they hit a big slump. Kingery has done a nice job but it’s still not cutch. Klentak needs to address the pitching at the deadline, trade for greinke or stroman without giving up too much. Ken Giles or Alex Colome for the bullpen.
The Phillies are on greinke’s no trade list
Stroman will cost you because of the extra year of control. That will start with either Medina or Hasely
Both of those guys are untouchable imo, They are gonna end up going out to get an innings eater,
Greinke’s no trade list is probably not a whole lot different then that of MadBum. just because they are on his list, doesnt mean it isnt happening at all.
Greinke’s list is 15 teams. He’d have to approve the deal. Don’t see it happening. Not with his contract. Spend that money elsewhere. I wouldn’t give up less in terms of prospects to take on most of his money.
I think philly will end up going with an innings eater rather then an ace type pitcher, then alex colome or will smith.
Yea. If the Phils were better, Greinke would be a nice fit. As it is now, splurging on Greinke seeems like a mistake as that move won’t necessarily put them over the top in the near future.