Phillies need to add veterans to young core

ggouvas
Apr 15, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies general manager Matt Klentak before a game against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 15, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies general manager Matt Klentak before a game against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

To be contenders again, the Phillies will have to find the majority of their core through the farm system they’ve built. Although you can find blue chippers at every level, not all will be major-league mainstays. Experienced acquisitions will have to be mixed with the youngsters. While the minor-league irons are hot, GM Matt Klentak may have to strike now to build for next season and beyond.

It’s generous to say that the bullpen has been shaky thus far. Pete Makanin gave Jenmar Gomez the first shot to close and, similar to last September, he failed. Joaquin Benoit was no better, and Hector Neris is still finding his way. Joely Rodriguez has struggled to be the top lefty, while the veteran Pat Neshek has been the only consistent bright spot.

Tony Watson would be a much-needed addition to the backend of the bullpen The Phils have a great need for a left-handed presence, and the 31-year old Watson brings that, as well as closing experiencing, which he has done well for the Pirates, the last two seasons.

J.A. Happ, on the other hand, could be a cheap veteran addition to the starting rotation if Jeremy Hellickson is traded. Selected by Philadelphia in the 3rd round of the 2004 draft, Happ spent parts of five seasons with the team. With the assistance of the king of restoration projects, Pittsburgh pitching coach, Ray Searage, Happ found himself and has become of the better lefthanders in the league. He signed a modest three-year, $36 million deal before the 2016 season with Toronto, so he is under lock & key thru next season. The Blue Jays look to be a team close to blowing things up, and Happ would net them some badly needed prospects to restock their bare cupboards. The Phils could use veteran stability and more importantly and have a lefty added to their all right-handed rotation would help.

If the A’s ace Sony Gray returns to good health and form, this would be the perfect young guy to lead a rotation. He is still only 27, and general manager Billy Beane is known for dealing star players sooner rather than later, i.e. Josh Donaldson. Oakland wouldn’t be able to afford to pay top starter money, and the Phillies might be able to fetch him for a decent price with his recent health history.

Although these names wouldn’t help the Phillies be much better in 2017, it would be wise to begin to put the pieces together for 2018. Philadelphia has been quite supportive thru this rebuild and will be looking for it to pay some dividends as soon as next year. Asking for the team to, at least, be a wildcard contender next year is not being too greedy.

facebooktwitterreddit