Phillies have plenty of flexibility in making their free agency decisions

Andy MacPhail of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Andy MacPhail of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

While the Phillies certainly would like to add one of the big-ticket free agents this winter, they still can go many ways with their free agency decisions.

Phillies president Andy MacPhail went on the record Monday stating that the team has many different avenues to improve their roster this offseason. Basically, he was saying that even if the team does not sign Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, the club can still do plenty to improve on their 80-82 record this year.

An immediate gut reaction would be, “This team is going back to the cellar if they don’t sign Harper or Machado!” While they both would make a huge impact, MacPhail indicated that the team needs to think beyond the 2019 season with their free agency decisions: [quote via Todd Zolecki of]

"“But there are a lot of different ways to improve. It’s very important that you keep an eye on the future. There’s going to be just as much pressure on us next year to improve as there is this year. And the same thing the year after that. So you’ve got to give yourself enough latitude to deal with each offseason as it comes.”"

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While MacPhail did say that the team is not going 100% all-in this offseason, he maintained his interest in making a splash this offseason. The key point he wanted to get across was that the team has plenty of options to pursue.

General manager Matt Klentak said that while owner John Middleton would like to bring in one of Harper or Machado, the team can still have a successful offseason even if they miss out on them. Zolecki went on listing the moves the team has already made to improve the roster and more that could be coming in the near future.

Philadelphia will host Machado on Thursday at Citizens Bank Park and could host Harper in the future as well.

In the event that neither of them signs here, the team still has options to fill those holes this year and beyond.

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Looking at third base, where Machado could play, Mike Moustakas is another option to fill the position. They could opt to let Maikel Franco remain there and hope he can improve on his 2018 season. Looking into the future, Nolan Arenado, a player arguably of Machado’s caliber, will be a free agent next offseason at 28 years old. Anthony Rendon, another top-five player at the position, will be available as well.

Meanwhile, the outfield has already improved with the signing of Andrew McCutchen. A.J. Pollock is another option for improvement. Yasiel Puig and Nick Castellanos will be free agents after the 2019 season, and Mike Trout and Mookie Betts will be available after the 2020 season.

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At this point, there is no reason to think Philadelphia will 100% miss out on Harper and Machado this offseason. Even if they do, other options remain to improve the team for 2019 and beyond.