MLB Winter Meetings: Phillies content without making a splash, Rob Thomson didn’t watch the World Series, and MLB Rule 5 Draft update
MLB Winter Meetings are underway in Nashville, Tennessee and I have a few updates for…
Dave Dombrowski talked with everyone’s favorite Phillies’ beat reporters yesterday about the August 2nd MLB Trade Deadline, providing some insight on what moves the organization is willing to make this season.
The Phillies, like every year around the trade deadline for the past decade, find themselves in “win-now” mode, boasting the largest payroll in franchise history, while also attempting to break a decade-long playoff drought.
To kill the elephant in the room right from the jump, the Phillies (obviously) are not in the Juan Soto market, which Dombrowski immediately shot down when being asked about acquiring “generational talent” before August 2nd.
Dombrowski did however, address what the Phillies organization would be willing to give up at the deadline to help the team win this season. That list does not include any of the Phillies organizations top three pitching prospects in Andrew Painter, Mick Abel, and Griff McGarry.
“The strength of our organization right now is our young starting pitching…it’s a very talented group of young starting pitchers. And the other thing I’ve found about talented young starting pitchers, and you can check back where I’ve been, sometimes they get to the big leagues very fast. I’m not saying this year, but there are some people that could be competing for spots next year that are youngsters. I’ve had no problem pitching guys who are 20 years old and having a lot of success and putting them in the big leagues. And they’re that good that some of those guys could be pitching here…so I don’t want to just think short term. I’m not saying that they will. But they’ll be going to spring training with us next year. I mean, some of those guys are really good.” via The Athletic
There are several reports stating that the Phillies have signaled to other clubs that Painter, Abel, and McGarry are not available, nor should they be. The Phillies finally have an organizational plan in place under Dave Dombrowski and there’s honestly no reason to sacrifice three consensus MLB Top 100 prospects at the deadline.
That would be stupid.
Still, this is more of a plan for the future than anything happen this year, and likely next year. Both Painter and Abel were drafted out of high school and are only 19 and 21 years old. McGarry, now in Double A, is 23 years old and clearly on a faster track to make another jump, but that still likely won’t happen this year either.
“It’s a fun situation to be in, and it’s always one of those where people don’t (recognize it) until they get a little higher in Double A…Now, all of a sudden in Double A, McGarry pitched six shutouts innings and he’s already on a top 100 prospect list, right? But now it’s like, ‘Wow, look at that.’ That’s what it takes sometimes when they get to that level. We’ve got a couple of other pitchers that it doesn’t necessarily take that because they’re so good, but once they get to Double A, I’ve never had a problem jumping Double-A (players) to the big leagues.” via The Athletic
Heading into the 2023 season, the Phillies have a club option on Aaron Nola, while Zack Wheeler is still signed through 2024. If the Phillies can utilize their top three prospects over the next season or two in order to fill rotation spots, that would be more than ideal. Doing that would give them the opportunity to allocate spending money elsewhere.
Yes, I’m looking at you, Trae Turner.
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With all that being said, it’s pretty clear that the Phillies won’t be making any big splashes at the deadline. They are however, still going to attempt to acquire a No. 5 starter given the fact that there is currently no timetable for the return of Zach Eflin.
“There’s a lot of clubs that are trying to explore and acquire…Where we are at this time right now, you might ask for a No. 5 starter and they might ask you for your No. 1 prospect. I mean, that’s where you are. … We still have eight days because (the deadline is) 6 o’clock next Tuesday. That’s an eternity at the trade deadline.” via The Athletic
Not the most exciting news coming from the Phillies but it’s certainly the most sensible one, which is something this organization has lacked in year’s past.
The Phillies are now seven games behind the second place Atlanta Braves and nine games behind the first place New York Mets in the NL East standings. They are a half game behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the final NL Wild Card spot, and still playing without arguably their two best hitters in Bryce Harper and Jean Segura.
Bryce Harper was not able to get the pins removed from his broken thumb yesterday, which moves back his timetable to return to the lineup to late August or early September. Jean Segura has missed extended time this season as well and is beginning a rehab assignment today with Triple A Lehigh Valley.
Does the Phillies current lineup still have enough to make a postseason push? Well, they should but we haven’t seen that from this team and we’re about to enter the month of August.
At first, the Phillies were able to keep themselves above water without Harper at first, going 8-4 over the first 12 games. Kyle Schwarber led the way for the Phillies offense, hitting seven home runs and driving in 13 runs over the first nine games minus-Harper. Since the, everything slowed down a bit for the Phillies since then.
Returning from the All-Star break and getting swept by the Chicago Cubs was rough. Luckily, they were able to bounce back against the Atlanta Braves last night, but still, the weight on Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins to carry this team has been too much.
JT Realmuto and Nick Castellanos continue to struggle from the plate and while Bohm has certainly hit well from the plate, the rest of the Phillies lineup that includes Didi Gregorius, Matt Vierling, Bryson Stott, Johan Camargo, and whoever else the team plugs in at a nightly basis haven’t been consistent enough to keep them in contention with the Mets and Braves.
Of course, the Wild Card is still on the table and the Phillies will make a few moves at the deadline to better themselves heading into the final months of the season. The future might not look bright now, but it’s honestly refreshing to see the Phillies layout a plan for success over the next few seasons. Whether that will actually work has yet to be seen.