First 3 moves Phillies need to make in 2020-21 offseason

Erik Neander of the Tampa Bay Rays (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
Erik Neander of the Tampa Bay Rays (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) /
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The Phillies should make these moves first in one of their most important offseasons in recent years.

The World Series is over, meaning the 2020-21 Major League Baseball offseason is officially underway. Here are the first three moves the Philadelphia Phillies should make.

3. Decline all four club options

Starting pitcher Jake Arrieta and relievers Hector Neris, David Phelps, and David Robertson, all have club options in their contracts for the 2021 season that total more than $40 million. Just the two Davids have buyouts worth slightly north of $2 million combined.

All four players may never throw in red pinstripes again; in an offseason where seemingly every penny matters, the Phillies could decline all four of their options and use that money elsewhere.

Neris might be the only player worthwhile keeping — in an offseason where the bullpen surely will be reworked following its near MLB all-time worst performance in 2020.

If Neris returns for an eighth season with the team, it should come on a new, cheaper deal. NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Corey Seidman sees him as a prime candidate to have his contract reworked. “The Phillies could re-do Neris’ deal, for example, to something like two years, $9-10 million, lowering the AAV by several million dollars,” he writes. “The Phillies must substantially improve their bullpen this winter and part of that should be phasing the 31-year-old Neris into a different role.”

Arrieta departs following three years of mostly disappointment following his Cy Young-contending seasons with the Chicago Cubs. Robertson, a former New York Yankees star reliever who was on their 2009 World Series championship team, made just a few relief appearances with the Phillies at the start of the 2019 season; he was injured throughout most of his two-year pact.

Phelps, meanwhile, never seemed to get comfortable in Philadelphia, largely struggling following the late August 2020 trade from the Milwaukee Brewers.