Will Phillies’ window close if they fail to win a World Series in 2024?

With talks this spring of a dynasty in Philadelphia, how much longer can the aging core of stars keep the competitive window open?
Pittsburgh Pirates v Philadelphia Phillies
Pittsburgh Pirates v Philadelphia Phillies / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

As the Philadelphia Phillies enter the third year of a competitive window, the expectation is that the team will be playing meaningful baseball games when the calendar flips to October. As fans, we have a tendency to take these types of runs for granted and sometimes miss the obvious expiration date for when the window is likely to close.

Will Leitch of MLB.com recently wrote about a number of teams that are in danger of seeing their competitive windows close without a championship. And you guessed it, the Philadelphia Phillies are on his list. Projecting the Phillies to go 84-78 this season, Leitch apparently views regression as an imminent reality in 2024.

"This team is old and getting older; it’s going to get tougher before it gets easier," writes Leitch. "If the Phillies take a step backward -- and there’s nothing other than a World Series that isn’t 'a step backward' -- how much can you expect from this gaggle of 30-somethings moving forward? The vibes were immaculate in Philly last year. If they don’t make the World Series this year, or if the wheels come off entirely, the vibes in 2025 will be ... less than immaculate."

Leitch isn't wrong that this is a major league roster mostly comprised of talent aged 30 and above. However, it's obvious that his main argument about why the Phillies are under pressure to win in the next few seasons or watch this window close is mostly tied to age and not performance. That's before you take into account players like Alec Bohm, Bryson Stott, and Brandon Marsh, who have not entered their primes yet.

The competitive window is likely to be longer. But when will it realistically close?

2026 could be the year the Phillies decline

Skipping ahead to the 2025 offseason, two potential free agents loom large for the Philadelphia Phillies. That's the first time two major pieces of their veteran core will have contracts expire. We're talking about J.T. Realmuto and Kyle Schwarber.

Looking ahead to this scenario, I think it's safe to assume the Phillies will take two paths when it comes to trying to re-sign Realmuto and Schwarber. Still one of the best all-around catchers in baseball, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Phillies attempt to extend Realmuto sometime between now and the end of the 2025 season.

Schwarber will be a different case. It's likely the slugger will be allowed to walk when his contract is up, and that's probably a good thing. Still, it will leave a massive hole in one of the most fearsome lineups in the game.

That brings into focus the trajectory of younger players like Alec Bohm, Bryson Stott, and Brandon Marsh. Bohm had a breakout season in 2023, and many fans will be interested to see if the Phillies enter into contract talks with the 27-year-old before he hits free agency in 2027.

Stott has established himself as one of the best second basemen in the National League over his first two seasons with the Phillies. But what is his ceiling?

Marsh has obvious skills and youth on his side, but injuries are piling up early in his career. Not your traditional slugging outfielder, can Marsh stay healthy and hit enough against left-handed pitching to become an even better, and everyday, player?

While this is all just speculation and it's hard to project the types of moves the Phillies will make between now and 2026, I think it's reasonable to look at these factors heading into that season. While Leitch's take on when the Phillies will enter decline is closer, it's more likely that the team has two seasons remaining in this window as currently constructed.

manual