The Philadelphia Phillies should have a very busy – and hopefully, fruitful – offseason.
They finally had a winning season for the first time since 2011, and that, combined with the excellent seasons of Bryce Harper, Zack Wheeler, and Ranger Suárez, is something to build on.
Ultimately, with the current state of the Phillies, what it comes down to is spending. They don’t have much of a farm system to use for trades, nor do they have a lot of players who are set to make debuts with real staying power at the big-league level. What they do have is payroll flexibility and the declaration they made ahead of the trade deadline that they were willing to go over the luxury tax threshold for the first time in franchise history.
Besides, spending big on star pitching is what Dave Dombrowski does best. With that in mind, here are three mistakes the Phillies need to avoid making again this offseason if they want to be successful in 2022…
Quality over quantity for the Phillies bullpen
The Phillies bullpen had plenty of pitchers; the problem was that none of them were particularly good, aside from Hector Neris and Suárez, who then moved to the rotation. With Suárez presumably staying in the rotation and several relievers entering free agency, Dombrowski can finally build a better bullpen.
The 2021 Phillies tied the MLB record for most blown saves in a single season. Hector Neris was phenomenal in April and May, abysmal in June and July, and then dominant again to round out the season. He’ll be a free agent this offseason, but the Phillies can probably bring him back; his inconsistency will scare off many suitors.
The Phillies need to find one or two relievers who are stingy with walks. Jose Alvarado was one of many Phillies relievers who struggled with giving free passes; he issued 47 walks in just 55 2/3 innings, the second-worst walks-per-nine of his five-year career, and the worst on the team.
But a huge part of the bullpen struggles was the starting rotation’s inability to go deep into games, resulting in overworked relievers, so Dombrowski has his work cut out for him in all facets of the pitching department.