Phillies baseball is coming back and their top prospects should join them
At the end of July, the Phillies will begin a 60-game campaign with the opportunity for a standings fight never before seen in the game.
If last season ended after 60 games, the Phillies would have faced the Braves for a winner-take-all one-game-playoff for the NL East. We all know what happened in the next 102 games, which left the team in fourth place.
The point is that with a shortened season, there’s a much smaller sample size that can provide a path to the playoffs for a team that goes on a hot streak, and vice versa.
With all that said, there’s still only 60 games. There will be no fans. Barring unforeseen changes, the winner of the World Series likely won’t be able to have a parade. Teams with some question marks should find those answers this season.
Both appeared in Spring Training back in March. Bohm, 23, appeared in thirteen games and went 9-for-22 (average of .409) and drove in three runs. Howard, 23, threw one scoreless inning after dealing with a minor knee injury.
Notable expiring contracts for the Phillies include: Jake Arrieta, Jay Bruce, Didi Gregorius, J.T. Realmuto, and Hector Neris ($7 million team option for ’21). Realmuto should be re-signed. Arrieta has two team options but likely won’t be coming back. Bruce likely won’t be coming back, and Gregorius is not a long-term piece.
So, why not take those spots and prioritize them to players who might be part of your long-term strategy? Adam Haseley should be starting in center field. Spencer Howard should be part of the starting rotation.
Alec Bohm should start all 60 games this season. With a universal DH rule, he should still bat in games where Scott Kingery, Gregorius, Jean Segura, and Rhys Hoskins are all playing the infield. Are the Phillies worried about his defense at third? Play him at third. Do they want to see if he can play first base? Play him at first base. Answer those questions.
In a 60-game season in which the team will be taking $0 in ticket sales, the Phillies should use this opportunity to experiment and play those young players. Why? First, There’s no minor leagues this year. A major league game not played for those prospects is a game lost. Second, if those players are good, perhaps they become integral pieces that help the Phillies contend for the division.
It doesn’t make any sense to wash away this season by prioritizing players on expiring deals. You’re not learning anything new from them. And if the Phillies are worried about service time, give me a break. A player who has a chance of being good now is more valuable than a player who is older and has a chance to be good later.