Phillies: What will come of the rest of the offseason
By Koy Zdimal
One word to describe the Phillies offseason so far: aggressive
Despite the public thought that the Philadelphia Phillies are a year away from contention, they appear to be trying to speed up that timeline. They have already made some moves and were linked to what will likely be the two biggest splashes of the 2017-2018 offseason, Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani.
While they did not land either star it is the aggression and involvement that shows that Matt Klentak and the front office is ready to contend now.
So what’s next this offseason? It is obvious that the bullpen has been the focus so far. They re-signed their lone All-Star last year, Pat Neshek. Despite many rumors that the club would sign Addison Reed to a three-year deal, they opted to sign former Ray Tommy Hunter. Both relievers had a sub 2.70 ERA, including Neshek posting a 1.12 in his tenure with the Phillies last year.
Now the only three guaranteed money on the Phillies roster belongs to the new relievers and star centerfielder Odubel Herrera. So who else should Klentak go after? Jon Heyman of FanRag sports reported yesterday that Philadelphia were considering former Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta. Heyman also reported that the Orioles are willing to listen to offers for 3B/SS Manny Machado and the Phils are in the mix.
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The Machado move would not make sense, at least not yet. Machado will be a free agent next year and it would be very smart for the Phillies to pursue him next year. But why waste serious prospects, likely Scott Kingery, when they could just wait one more year and acquire him next year.
The Arrieta move makes much more sense. Remember in 2015 when people thought the Cubs were still a year away and they brought in ace Jon Lester? Arrieta could be to Philadelphia what Lester was to the Cubs. The ace at the top of the staff the rest of the rotation could learn from, especially Aaron Nola. It would be smart on Arrieta’s part too. Here is his highest ERA in the National League: 3.66, here is his lowest in the American League: 4.66 in his rookie year. Jake Arrieta has had much more success since switching from Baltimore to Chicago. In addition to that, he had even more success in the National League East. In 2017 against all NL East teams not named the Philadelphia Phillies he went 2-1 with only seven earned runs in 17 innings (five in one start against the Nationals.
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The offseason is far from over and do not be surprised if Klentak and the Phillies make more moves before the season is over.