Whether by coincidence or great planning the Phillies won’t have to worry about keeping some of their own this offseason
Baseball fans, especially Phillies fans, have waited years for the 2019 free agent class, touted as one of the greatest of all-time, to emerge. Superstars Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, DJ LeMahieu, and Craig Kimbrel are only a few of the highlighted players expected to be available this offseason.
While a large portion of baseball’s stars could be on the move, the Phillies don’t stand to have many of their own stars on the open market.
Philadelphia has only seven notable free agents this offseason: Wilson Ramos, Jose Bautista, Asdrubal Cabrera, Will Middlebrooks, Aaron Loup, Trevor Plouffe, and Pedro Beato. Certainly not an A-list group of names, unless you’re looking at five years ago.
Bautista and Ramos are two veterans who had a major league impact this year after being acquired through trades. The elder statesman Bautista proved to have run out of his MVP-caliber power after coming from the Mets, hitting .206 with one home run in 18 games with Philadelphia.
Considering no one signed Bautiasta until midway through the season and his apparent burnout down the stretch, it’s not unlikely he retires this offseason, during which he’ll turn 38.
Ramos has been a lightning rod for the offense since being acquired from the Rays and returning from a hamstring injury. He’s hitting .392 with nine extra base hits in 26 games for Philadelphia, and he is an obvious extension candidate going into a busy offseason.
Cabrera was the consolation prize after losing the Machado sweepstakes and it’s been a major disappointment considering the organization traded their #10 prospect Franklyn Kilome. Since the trade Cabrera has hit .228 with 13 doubles and five home runs.
Loup was another disappointing addition after Philadelphia missed the big names available. The lefty has an ERA of 9 in five games and dealt with an injury that cost him considerable playing time.
Once a highly-touted prospect for Boston, Middlebrooks has turned into a journeyman signing minor league deals with invitations to spring training. Unfortunately, Middlebrooks broke his leg during a spring training game while competing for a major league bench job. Philadelphia will most likely let him walk in the open market.
Plouffe, a nine-year vet, signed a minor league deal in April and joined the major league team in July when the bench wore thin. Aside from a walk-off home run against the Dodgers, Plouffe provided little for the Phillies offense hitting .250 in seven games. Like Middlebrooks, he’ll find himself on the open market signing a minor league deal.
Beato, who turns 32 this offseason, has been in the Phillies organization for a couple of years after bouncing around the majors. In two years with the IronPigs he set the franchise save record at 68 while carrying a 2.89 ERA. Despite his success in Lehigh Valley, Beato only appeared in one major league game over the last two years, during which he pulled his hamstring.
Given his success in Lehigh Valley the Phillies might try to keep Beato on a minor league deal.
Of the five players set to become free agents, it’s likely Ramos is the only one the organization gives serious consideration to bringing back. However, if another team willing to overpay Ramos to be a starting catcher on a three-year deal comes along, he’s likely gone.