Phillies: 5 remaining offseason needs as Winter Meetings end

A general view of Philadelphia Phillies hats (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
A general view of Philadelphia Phillies hats (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports) /
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As this year’s virtual Winter Meetings wrap up, the Phillies still have several things they need to address this offseason.

The 2020 virtual Winter Meetings come to a close on Thursday, capped off with the annual Rule 5 Draft. Usually, this is the time of year when your phone starts blowing up a flurry of breaking news updates, letting you know about the latest free-agent signings and trades. However, this year’s virtual meetings have been much different and much quieter, especially for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Here are the five most significant needs that the Phillies still have to address this offseason:

5. Re-sign J.T. Realmuto, or find a new catcher

Let’s start with easily the most obvious one on this list and the one that has probably been talked about the most. The Phillies absolutely must figure out a way to keep catcher J.T. Realmuto in red pinstripes for the foreseeable future. If they can’t, they need to figure out another option and do it quickly.

Andrew Knapp might be a clubhouse favorite, and he did quietly have a solid year in 2020, but he is not an everyday catcher and the Phillies cannot rely on him.

It’s true: contracts for catchers rarely, if ever, age well; but, despite recent reports, it does sound like the universal designated hitter is going to be inevitable at some point.

4. Add at least one starting pitcher

Right-handers Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler are a great one-two punch for the Phillies at the top of their rotation. And while Zach Eflin may not be flashy, but he is a reliable third starter. You have to figure that Spencer Howard is a near-lock to take the fourth spot, and the Phillies will hope that he continues to develop.

The final rotation spot though is a total mystery. Vince Velasquez appears to be returning in 2021, but that’s not likely news that makes anyone feel much better.

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3. Figure out what they want to do at shortstop

Didi Gregorius quietly had a really nice bounce-back season with the Phillies in 2020. Bringing him back should be a no brainer. But, it depends whether the Phillies will want to spend enough to get the All-Star-caliber player back in red pinstripes for another season with his former New York Yankees manager, Joe Girardi.

2. Address the bullpen

At this point, writing about how historically bad the Phillies bullpen was last season is just depressing for everyone. Reading it makes you sad, and writing it makes me even sadder that we actually lived through whatever the heck that was last season.

Think about the worst year a bullpen could possibly have, then multiply it by 1,000. That was the 2020 Phillies bullpen.

Attempts to upgrade the bullpen in the past haven’t been successful. Maybe this will be the year.

1. Hire a General Manager and/or President of Baseball Operations

All of this is kind of a moot point if the Phillies can’t hire a general manager to run the front office. The front office situation in Philadelphia is less than ideal. They currently have an interim general manager, and Andy MacPhail as the current team president — who has said publicly that he will step down after next season.

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