Phillies: Three takeaways from the Gregorius, Wheeler press conference
Klentak thinks the Phillies can win the National League East
When asked whether he thinks the Phillies can win the National League East in 2020, Klentak said he believes the team is equipped to do so.
“We won 81 games last year and had a lot of things go wrong. Now, when you bring back the core of that team, that is still very young, still very talented, you add a new manager, a new pitching coach, (Wheeler and Gregorius), and whatever else we may do for the rest of the offseason, I think you’re looking at a very very competitive club.”
Klentak went on to say that the National League East is a “very competitive division” and possibly the best division in baseball. Four teams, including the Phillies, had a record of .500 or better, and the Miami Marlins are a young team with an experienced manager.
A lot of things did go wrong last year: Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson got hurt, the rotation didn’t take the next step, Hoskins took a step back, and the coaching staff didn’t live up to the front office’s expectations.
Nothing will prevent injuries from affecting this team, but hopefully, the bug doesn’t catch the biggest guy like it did last year. Hopefully, a new coaching staff can pull guys up and bring the next level out of their game. Hopefully, the rest of the division isn’t as competitive as it was last year.
That’s a lot to hope for in a season that lasts seven-eight months, depending on how far you go into October. One thing the Phillies don’t have a lot of (which hurt them last year) is depth. Having the versatility of Scott Kingery and the return of Jay Bruce to the bench helps, but beyond that, the Phillies don’t have that next guy in the minors outside of top prospect Alec Bohm to help the offense.
As for the bullpen, a lot will rest on younger guys who have little to no experience carrying a bullpen through an entire season. Given the state of the relief market and the luxury tax, it’s unlikely the Phillies add a prominent reliever. They’ll have to rely on Hector Neris, Adam Morgan, and a crop of young arms to stay healthy and take the next step in their careers.