The Philadelphia Phillies haven’t started off the season hot and while the reason for it isn’t their lack of pitching depth, this remains a major concern. The Phillies allowed Bailey Falter and Andrew Painter to compete for a rotation spot this spring only for the latter to go down with an injury. Falter won by default leaving the team with a decent enough group of five.
Unfortunately, the injury to Ranger Suarez has created more trouble. Reliever Matt Strahm will start in his place with all of Philadelphia crossing their fingers hoping it works out for as long as Suarez is unavailable.
The Phillies could have approached the offseason so much differently. They could have done what the vile, despicable, and evil New York Mets did.
The Phillies can learn a lesson from the NY Mets about building starting pitcher depth
It’s an organizational flaw for the Phillies dating back before many of us were ever born. The Phillies don’t develop starting pitchers well. The timing of Painter’s arrival to the big leagues along with prospects like Griff McGarry and Mick Abel didn’t quite arrive on time for any of the three to truly become options immediately this year. As hyped up as Painter is and should be, putting him on the 2023 Opening Day roster would have been hitting the fast-forward button.
Up in New York, the Mets approached the offseason ravenously. They replaced Jacob deGrom with Justin Verlander. Chris Bassitt was replaced by Jose Quintana. When Taijuan Walker left the Mets for the Phillies, they signed Kodai Senga from Japan.
The Mets were starting pitchers deep until they lost Quintana. Then they found out Verlander would head to the IL as well. They were able to call upon David Peterson and Tylor Megill for starts in the first week of the season. Both pitched well and have done so before in the past. They are essentially the Mets’ version of Falter except neither will pitch in the big leagues for New York when the veterans are healthy. Their rotation goes a little deeper with Joey Lucchesi and even Dylan Bundy, an experienced arm they signed to a minor league deal right before the season began.
There is a lot of security in Queens with the pitching staff. Some of the depth options aren’t brilliant but they can be trusted to keep the team in the game. There is upside.
With the Phillies, it feels differently. They can manage with Strahm in the rotation behind the four other true starters. It’s not ideal especially when Falter is already in the rotation.
A single starting pitcher addition this year could have made a huge difference for the Phillies. As they circle the wagons with interest in Dallas Keuchel, we should question why they never went after Michael Wacha or another pitcher who signed late in the offseason. Already working with a depleted rotation in the first week of the season, it may already be too late for the Phillies to do much about it. This shouldn’t stop them from continuing to look for upgrades.