Philadelphia Phillies: History says club can contend in 2021
By Colin Newby
The Philadelphia Phillies missed the postseason for the ninth consecutive season in 2020.
Two years after signing outfielder Bryce Harper to a then-record $330 million contract and acquiring star catcher J.T. Realmuto from the Miami Marlins, the Phillies have remained in a state of mediocrity.
The unceremonious end to the 2020 season spurred emphatic negativity among fans, largely based on assumed impending circumstances in which the Phillies would let Realmuto and shortstop Didi Gregorius leave via free agency this past offseason.
Phillies Managing Partner John Middleton — amid a rampant conversation about the organization’s financial strains — hired Dave Dombrowski as President of Baseball Operations to replace the widely unpopular Matt Klentak.
Dombrowski retained both Realmuto and Gregorius, and then made several acquisitions to improve the depth of the 2021 projected roster. Despite joining the organization midway through the offseason, Dombrowski avoided the perceived “Doomsday” scenario.
Historical precedence breeds hope.
The Phillies are unquestionably having trouble making the jump to become a postseason-caliber team. The arrival of Harper and Realmuto in 2019 was supposed to be the turning point for this franchise to recreate the “golden era” of Phillies baseball from 2007-11, in which their team won five consecutive National League East titles and the 2008 World Series. However, consecutive late-season collapses prevented them from finishing better than .500 in either season since the acquisitions.
Because of the high expectations born during the 2019 offseason, many Phillies fans are forgetting the trajectory the franchise took before 2007.
The Phillies suffered a similar postseason drought after winning the National League in 1993. It began with an era of futility from 1994-2002 that resulted in only one winning season.