Phillies: Should team wait until next year to go big in free agency?

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WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 12: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals hits a sacrifice fly against the Chicago Cubs during the seventh inning in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 12, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 12: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals hits a sacrifice fly against the Chicago Cubs during the seventh inning in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 12, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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There has been little spending this offseason as many teams save for next years free agency class. Should the Phillies save their money for then?

Currently, the MLB hot stove is ice cold. There have been some recent trades, like Andrew McCutchen to the Giants and Gerrit Cole to the Astros, but the top free agents have yet to sign. J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer, Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta have all just been subjects of as rumors as all have yet to sign this offseason.

This likely could be because of the massive hype for the 2018-2019 free agent class. The hype is well deserved as it will contain two of the top three players in baseball, Harper and Kershaw. But it doesn’t stop there. Sluggers Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson, Charlie Blackmon stand out amongst position players on the list. Daniel Murphy, Adam Jones, Andrew McCutchen, Brian Dozier, Nelson Cruz, DJ LeMahieu and A.J Pollock will all be free agents come the upcoming seasons finale.

There will also be a surplus of pitchers. Clayton Kershaw is obviously the star, even though it is highly unlikely he is in any uniform besides Dodgers blue to start the 2019 season. Dallas Keuchel, Drew  Pomeranz, Gio Gonzalez, Garrett Richards and Patrick Corbin highlight the rest of the potential staff members.

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Any bullpen could also be significantly improved by a signing. Two of the best closers in the game, Zach Britton and Craig Kimbrel, are a part of the class alongside arguably a top five pitcher in baseball, Andrew Miller.

There is a big difference in who Phillies fans want and the Phillies could actually get. Sure it would be great to get Bryce Harper, but he will most likely ask for, and receive, more than 400 million dollars, from either the Yankees, Cubs or Dodgers.

While the Phillies have that kind of money, it would make sense to fill multiple holes with multiple signing, instead of all of it on the current NL East rival. Kershaw would be great and definitely worth any amount of money he asked for, he would undoubtedly make the Phillies contenders. But again, don’t expect him anywhere outside of Hollywood.

So who is realistic and what would make sense?

Manny Machado is an actual and likely possibility. When rumors spread this offseason of a potential trade, the Phillies were one of the primary contenders. The biggest threat to not gaining Machado would be if he is dealt at the trade deadline, as whoever receives him is able to lure him back the following season, most likely with postseason success.

So what to do with the pitching staff? The Phillies need a number one starter. Aaron Nola had some ace-like stretches in 2017 but has been inconsistent and will be more successful as a two man in the rotation. The only possible ace in the class, barring some form of break out 2018, is Dallas Keuchel.

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So should the Phillies wait and attempt to acquire Keuchel next season or pursue Arrieta or Darvish now? Age doesn’t really play a factor here. If they sign any of the three, they will be 31 years old. So who is the most skilled of the three? Arrieta has the longest MLB career of the three which makes sense why he has the most wins and losses. However, in two more years (42 starts) than Keuchel he has only 4 more losses compared to 24 more wins. Arrieta has by far the highest winning percentage.

Darvish has the lowest overall ERA but Arrieta’s 2.73 ERA in the NL is by far the best.

Stat wise, Arrieta is the clear option. Based off personal opinion and analysis, Darvish is the best pitcher. He has the largest arsenal of pitches and his slider and curveball are overwhelming two strike pitches. Klentak should pursue one of this years aces, making a large offer at one of these two. While they would have to overpay, it would be 100% worth it. They could then improve the staff even more with a potential three man like Corbin or Pomeranz.

Next: Is Aaron Altherr just John Mayberry 2.0?

Starting pitching is the team’s biggest weakness currently. They can attempt to get Machado, more starters and maybe a star closer next year. But if they can get their ace this year, don’t be surprised if the Phillies are still playing come October.

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