Welcome back to PFO – Phillies. With the hot stove heating up as teams prepare for Winter Meetings, we want to get on the record. If you missed Part 1 discussing Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, you can read it here. Part 2 looks at other players the Phillies should be interested in and who they should look at unloading from their own roster.
Chris Deibler- @mrcrockpot
Ty Book- @TyBook3
Jack Levy- @jlevy34
Steve Starkins (FS09) – @Fansince09
Adam Schorr – @BusterDucks
Moderator: Besides Harper and Machado, are there any other free agents the Phillies should be specifically targeting? Maybe a certain position to target, perhaps through a trade?
Chris: Patrick Corbin is the 3rd guy the Phillies must target this offseason. The Phillies’ pitching was in the middle of the pack last season – 14th in OBP (.316), 18th in WHIP (1.29), and 18th in ERA (4.14). Currently, the starting rotation is fantastic with Nola and sort of okay with Arrieta (he’s got to be better than 10-10 with a 4ish ERA right? I hope so). But to put it simply, Nick Pivetta is not good enough to be the 3rd starter on a contending team. I’d love for the Phillies to add another legit arm and Patrick Corbin checks all of those boxes. The lefty had an 11-7 record this year with a 3.15 ERA, 246 strikeouts, and a 1.05 WHIP. Corbin showed he’s come all the back from Tommy John surgery in March 2014 by making the All-Star team last season. More importantly, the Phillies need inning eaters, and Corbin pitched 194.5 innings over the past 2 seasons. Go get him Klentak.
Ty: The Phillies need to bring in a third starter. Patrick Corbin is the best option available and has potential to grow (Chris made his case well). Adding Dallas Keuchel wouldn’t be a terrible move but he is a fourth starter at best. Either option adds a lefty to a right-dominant staff. The drop off after Corbin is real and even more noticeable after Keuchel. It’s a list made up of guys past their prime, journeymen, and underachievers. Whether Gabe Kapler agrees with me or not, the back end of the bullpen needs attention. Craig Kimbrel and Jeurys Familia are the two names that come to mind right away.
Jack: I definitely think the Phillies should be interested in other pitching options in free agency. Assuming they get one of Harper or Machado, they probably won’t have the money sign Patrick Corbin. Another lefty option on the market is Dallas Keuchel, who I think would be a great addition to the rotation. He is probably the second best starter on the market and would be a good piece to add beside Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta.
FS09: Corbin, which Chris and Ty already covered. I know it’s taboo to say this, but they need a closer and there are a few who can be had. I think missing out on one of Machado/Harper wouldn’t necessarily cause the Phillies to start throwing money at other free agents because I think they are laser focused on a future trade: Mike Trout. I think the Phillies begin to seriously kick the tires this offseason and will make a massive push if the Angels are struggling in July. The Angels would be crazy not to think about it – the only question is if the Phillies have the assets to get it done.
Adam: I actually have to disagree here. The Phillies were 6th in pitching WAR, 7th in FIP, 6th in xFIP, 18th in ERA, 28th in Fangraphs DWAR, and dead last in DRS…since 2003, the first year it was tracked. In other words, I think it will actually be tough for the Phillies to upgrade on the mound because I think they’re already good there. If the Phillies want more run prevention, it has to come from the gloves. Looking at DRS, the big issues are Hoskins, Williams, Hernandez, Franco, Herrera, Knapp, Kingery, Cabrera, Florimon, Crawford, Valentin, and basically the entire pitching staff. Okay, so that’s like, most of the roster. Especially with the entire pitching staff grading out negative, it has to be asked if there’s a coaching problem too, but many of these guys were known negatives and simply remained negative. DJ Lemahieu and Jose Iglesias stand out as infield options that could represent a huge upgrade (as would Machado). The OF is a little trickier. Hoskins is truly abysmal but also has nowhere to go until Santana is gone. In RF, Williams and Altherr were terrible, but so is Harper. Herrera is forced to simply cover too much ground and is not a technical enough defender to do it. There are no obvious free agent answers. Still, finding a utility defensive outfielder should be a goal at the winter meetings. Fix the defense and the pitching will look better.
Moderator: Are there any Phillies under contract you don’t want to see back? Anybody you’ve given up on?
Chris: There are three Phillies that must be on the move this offseason: Carlos Santana, Odubel Herrera, and Cesar Hernandez. The Phillies need a new direction and if Klentak can find value for these guys without dumping them then it’s a no brainer. Kingery has no business playing on the left side of the infield and should be groomed for the foreseeable future at second. I’m hoping the Phillies can move Herrera for a valuable arm in the bullpen.
Most importantly, Rhys Hoskins playing LF next year is a non-starter and I’d be extremely disappointed if Santana isn’t moved this offseason. The Santana signing was a joke and the decision to move Rhys to the outfield was a disaster. Rhys deserves to play at his natural position at first base. Hopefully Klentak recognizes his mistakes and is able to move on from them. I’m fully prepared to move on from these 3.
Ty: This roster is loaded with guys who have underachieved. Hernandez, Santana and a large piece of the bench need to be gone or replaced. I’ll start with Cesar, who after two seasons of hitting .294 and sporting a .370 or better OB% with less than 120 Ks choked out .253, .356, and 155 Ks. Not the progression I want to see out of my “leadoff hitter”. I don’t think our young core of players understand how analytics work, but that’s a topic for a different day. On to Carlos Santana, if only we were talking about the Grammy award-winning artist, at least we would win something. Santana is making a fortune to overswing and walk. Setting career lows in batting average, OBP%, SLG% and his second worst OPS. Odubel Herrera and Maikel Franco fall into the honorable mention category. Both have not been consistent but I could live with one more year.
Jack: Two guys I think the Phillies should move on from this offseason are Carlos Santana and Cesar Hernandez. I don’t think Santana had too bad of a season but he didn’t perform well enough to keep Hoskins in left field. It’s not worth it to have an average player like Santana at first when you have a star that gets stuck in left field. Hernandez should’ve been moved a few years ago when he still had some value. Now, there is no reason to have him on the roster with a bunch of young middle infielders plus the possible addition of Machado.
FS09: I would like to see if they can get anything for Arrieta, but think it’s unlikely. I think the time to move Cesar Hernandez was 2 seasons ago, and they absolutely have to do something while he still has some value. I also hope that Franco did enough to show some value as a power bat. And, as much as I like him, I think Odubel is done here. Basically, everyone not named Rhys can go. Also, I think we’ll see 2 of Velasquez/Eflin/Pivetta/Eickhoff moved.
Adam: It’s kinda hard to answer this question. Here’s the complete list of Phillies’ non-pitchers who graded out above average (different than above replacement) on Fangraphs: Hoskins. And the list for BB-Ref: Nobody. That’s, well, that’s a problem. As everybody else has said, Santana obviously has to go because Hoskins is simply better and has no business playing in the OF, but after that, it’s not like anybody has a real contract, so nobody else needs to be moved for money reasons. Nobody was sub-MLB level except Altherr who was only poor because of an unsustainably low BABIP which it is reasonable to expect him to bounce back from. Looking at this, it’s clear that it’s not that any one player is holding them back but that there’s only one player who even has a chance of moving them forward.
Check back next week for the third and final part of the pre-Winter Meetings panel, where we look at some minor leaguers to watch in 2019 and make our predictions as to what the Phillies will accomplish this offseason.