Every year, we think they’re finally going to break through again.
And with expanded playoffs possible for the foreseeable future, they certainly have a good shot at making the playoffs next year. But they go into the upcoming season with the second-longest playoff drought in all of baseball at nine seasons. Only the Mariners have a longer drought at nineteen seasons.
While I try to be as optimistic as possible with this team, I’ve found myself wondering more, and moreover, the past few months, is it time to blow this team up and start fresh?
Just look at the competition in the National League – the Dodgers, Braves, Padres, Cardinals, and Cubs are all clearly better than the Phillies. They also know how to draft, sign the right players, and get the most out of their team. The Reds are an up and coming team.
The Mets, with their new owner, the richest owner in all of baseball, are ready to make big splashes this offseason.
Steve Cohen on Mets free agency:
"We're talking to everybody. We're having conversations with everyone that matters and every player fans are excited about. The goal is to build a great team. We have a great core already but I think we can make significant improvements." #LGM pic.twitter.com/r5vSEgvCjN
— Ryan Field (@RyanFieldABC) November 26, 2020
And yes, it pains me to see that apple.
But it complicates things for the Phillies, especially in their pursuit to re-sign the BCIB, J.T. Realmuto. While Steve Cohen and the Mets are ready to spend money and make moves, the Phillies seem comfortable standing pat. What’s worse, it was reported the Phillies lost $145 million during the COVID-shortened 2020 season.
So while other teams are ready to improve and move on from the pandemic, John Middleton and the Phillies are poised to use it as an excuse for failing their fanbase and their team. And I promise you, the financial situation will get much worse for the Phillies if they do so.
Bryce Harper signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. The expectation was the Phillies would bring in pieces to contend. That hasn’t happened.
This brings us back to the original question; is it time to blow this team-up?
There are still 11 years left on Harper’s contract, so there’s time. But he’s in his prime right now, and the Phillies actually seem further from the playoffs now than they did two years ago. If they’re not going to add to the team, this seems like a better option than being stuck in perpetual mediocrity.
But if they blow it up, they need to do it quickly and efficiently to take advantage of Harper’s prime. After all, he’s one of the few untouchables on this team, along with Alec Bohm and possibly Aaron Nola. Though considering how Nola has been anything but clutch down the stretch, they should listen to offers for him if the haul is good enough.
I want more than anyone for the Phillies to go the opposite of this track. I want them to sign Realmuto, go after Trevor Bauer, sign a few of the plethora of bullpen arms that are available, and actually field a competitive team. But the writing seems on the wall that they’re not going to do this. And if they’re not going to be competitive in 2021, they need to figure out how to get competitive by 2022 or 2023.
Blowing it up might be one way to get there.
Featured Image: Yong Kim/The Philadelphia Inquirer