Phillies have nine arbitration eligible players, but only three really matter
As the World Series between the cheating Houston Astros and the hated Atlanta Braves kicks off, the Phillies are coasting through the early stages of the offseason. There are a bunch of key dates incoming that you can check out here. One thing is for sure, with the Phillies having nine players eligible for salary arbitration this offseason, players we watched last year will no longer be with the team when Spring Training kicks off in 2022.
With the MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement set to expire on December 1st, who knows how quickly this offseason will move. My guess, it’s going to go very slowly. December 1st is also an important date because it’s the cutoff of when teams can tender or non-tender players on their 40 man roster that have fewer than six years of MLB experience. If you don’t tender a player, they become a free agent. From there, obviously you still have an opportunity to re-sign them. The Phillies did just that with Vinny Velasquez and David Hale last year and well, we all know how that turned out.
The Phillies can also settle with players before they become arbitration eligible, which we saw them do with everyone on their arbitration list last year.
Here’s the list of arbitration eligible players for the Phillies this offseason:
- 1B Rhys Hoskins
- RHP Zach Eflin
- LHP Jose Alvarado
- INF Ronald Torreyes
- C Andrew Knapp
- OF Travis Jankowski
- RHP Seranthony Dominguez
- OF Roman Quinn
- OF Odubel Herrera
Just looking at that list, I think there’s three or four no brainers that the Phillies will bring back this year. Rhys Hoskins, Zach Eflin, Jose Alvarado, and either Ronald Torreyes or Seranthony Dominguez. Everyone else can make their way to the nearest exit.
Number one on the list is Rhys Hoskins. You obviously bring him back. After Hoskins went down last season and underwent surgery, the whole lineup turned into absolute junk. It was never more clear how important Rhys Hoskins is to this Phillies lineup. Hoskins will even become more useful if the Phillies are able to use him as a designated hitter, which will definitely be discussed this winter as something to implement in the National League for 2022.
Hoskins can be extremely hot and extremely cold. We all know that. But man, when he’s hot, Hoskins can be one of the biggest offensive threats in Major League Baseball and provides that much needed protection in the middle of the lineup for guys like Bryce Harper and JT Realmuto.
Hoskins was on an absolute tear before his injury. Over his last 30 games, he was slashing .316/.431/.768 with 10 home runs and 27 RBI. On the season he finished with a .247 batting average and an .864 OPS, adding 27 home runs and 71 RBI.
It’s estimated that Eflin will make roughly $6 million in arbitration. A starting Phillies rotation with Wheeler, Nola, Eflin, Gibson, and Suarez sounds amazing and to get Eflin back on $6 million deal would be a steal. Of course there’s a catch. Eflin had knee surgery again and his season was cut short. It was his second knee surgery that he underwent in on the same knee over the last five years and his estimated recovery time is roughly 6-8 months, meaning that he might not even begin to pitch until early March 2022.
Given the cost of what it would take to bring back Eflin, I still think you have to do it. The Phillies have too many other holes to fill in their bullpen and lineup to worry about starting pitching as well. You bring back Eflin and maybe take a shot at another veteran starter and hope they perform better than Matt Moore or Chase Anderson did last season for the Phillies.
I fully understand that Alvarado, at times, can be a rollercoaster on the mound. He has major control issues and isn’t the most reliable reliever on the planet, but when you have a bullpen like the Phillies, unfortunately Alvarado has to return. Similar to what I just said about Eflin, the Phillies focus this offseason is filling holes in the lineup and adding more bullpen arms. Alvarado was reliable enough to bring back on arbitration, especially at an estimated cost of $1.5 million.
From there, it’s really a crapshoot. I was never a huge fan of Travis Jankowski, Andrew Knapp was horrendous last year, I’m over Roman Quinn, and there’s no way the Phillies keep Odubel Herrera who’s estimated to get north of $11 million in arbitration.
You could make an argument to keep Ronald Torreyes as a utility bench player. He was great in that role, but certainly not as a starting player in the Phillies lineup. Seranthony Dominguez is interesting as well, but the Phillies will be closely monitoring him this offseason as he continues to make his way back from Tommy John surgery.
Just give me Rhys Hoskins, Zach Eflin, and Jose Alvarado. I don’t really care about anyone else.
Check the key dates as we get deeper into the offseason. Probably ignore the World Series. I can’t stand the Astros and well, we all know how we feel about the Atlanta Braves.
Mandatory Credit: Getty Images