Phillies’ Time is Now to Take Advantage of NL East Woes
The Phillies’ time is now with 70 days before Opening Day, amid the Mets losing manager Carlos Beltran, and the Braves and Nationals losing Josh Donaldson.
Even though the Philadelphia Phillies’ roster as it currently stands is nowhere near perfect, the team still has a lot to be encouraged about the possibility to succeed in the 2020 season.
This notion has only be reinforced this week, with each of their three National League East rivals suffering significant blows to their offseason outlook, just weeks before pitchers and catchers report to spring training.
It all began on Tuesday, when highly coveted, free-agent third baseman Josh Donaldson reportedly reached an agreement to a four-year contract with the Minnesota Twins. The 34-year-old slugger chose to join the American League Central, despite reportedly also having four-year offers from the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves.
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Then, on Thursday, New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran stepped down before managing even a single game.
Beltran’s resignation is in relation to his connection to the MLB sign-stealing scandal; while he faces no formal discipline from the league, he reportedly told the Mets “it is best if he steps down” to avoid becoming a distraction.
Donaldson made a significant impact for the 2019 Braves, slashing .259/.379/.521 with 33 doubles, 37 home runs, 94 RBI, 100 walks and 155 strikeouts spanning 155 games and 659 plate appearances. Against the Phillies alone, he slugged four doubles, six home runs and 16 RBI in 18 games, all of which he started.
It was believed that once the Nationals lost Anthony Rendon, also to the American League, that they would try to pry away Donaldson from the Braves.
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As it turns out, neither landed the former MVP Award, three-time All-Star, and two-time Silver Slugger Award-winner in Donaldson. Both teams’ lineups, as they currently stand, have significant holes in the middle of their lineups without Rendon nor Donaldson.
Beltran is the third manager to lose his job, joining the Houston Astros’ A.J. Hinch and the Boston Red Sox’ Alex Cora.
So, with the 2020 Braves, Mets and Nationals in the air, the Phillies should strike while the “iron is hot.”
While the Phillies have not been willing to spend, amid their proximity to the luxury tax threshold, now is the more ideal time than ever to acquire Kris Bryant or Nolan Arenado to really “sink” their division rivals even further.