Phillies Offseason Pitching Options Quickly Becoming Limited
Big names in free agency are flying off the board left and right for the Phillies
After last year’s offseason dragged on for what felt like an eternity, an emphasis has seemingly been placed on getting deals done sooner rather than later this go around. Marquee free agents Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, and Zack Wheeler, with the Phillies, have all already inked new deals, and with the market price now set, the rest of the top names are expected to sign soon as well.
The Phillies entered the 2019/2020 offseason with one major goal in mind: improving the pitching staff. The addition of Wheeler obviously helps a ton, but they still overall lacking in that department.
Last year Philadelphia had the fifth-worst starting rotation in the National League along with the eighth-worst bullpen. One starting pitcher, as good as Wheeler is, only helps so much.
With those numbers in mind, many expected the Phillies to be “in” on multiple pitchers, starters and relievers alike. However, with news breaking that guys like Tanner Roark and Blake Treinen have signed with new teams, Matt Klentak and the Philly front office are running out of options.
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Unless the team plans to actually exceed the tax, top starters like Madison Bumgarner and Hyun-Jin Ryu are most likely out of reach. Middle of the pack rotation guys like Cole Hamels, Jake Odorizzi, Jordan Lyles and previously mentioned Roark are all off the market, and an already weak bullpen market continues to lose value.
To solve their rotation woes, Philadelphia could look to take a stab on a Dallas Keuchel or a Wade Miley, or even explore a trade. As for the bullpen, they may have to look to get creative as the only “elite” option still available is a 35 year old Will Harris (yikes). Bringing in another ex-Yankee in Dellin Betances for a lower price is a solid alternative.
Despite the fanbase’s desperate call for another impact player, it does sound like Klentak and the Phillies plan is to remain under the luxury tax. As players continue to get bigger and bigger contracts on the open market, the Phillies are going to have to find a way to navigate around some seriously slim pickings.