2019 Autopsy Report: Philadelphia Phillies
We’re back at it with another elimination – last week we recapped a number of teams, ending on the Chicago White Sox.
The 12th team eliminated, and 6th in the National League, is the Philadelphia Phillies. After a pretty inactive off-season, I don’t think much was thought of the Phillies heading into 2019. Longtime GM John Comey stepped away early in the year and then-Brewers GM Jack Beckmann slid over to the opening and took over duties with the Phightin Phillies. I think there was some slim hope that they’d kick it into gear once he took over, but it ultimately never materialized.
Time of Death: Monday September 12th, 9:59 PM PST when Nationals SP Edward Reith got Cardinals OF Yasiel Puig to pop out, finishing off his no-hitter and eliminating the Phillies from the post-season chase.
Cause of Death (Primary): Ran out of time. While most of the players Beckmann brought to the Phillies performed better than in their previous locations (Anthony Hale one notable exception) the hole the Phillies dug at the onset was too deep to climb out of. They were 21-33 through May 28th, and while they’ve gone a sturdy 50-44 since, that isn’t the breakneck pace they needed to truly gain ground in a solid all-around division like the NL East. Their .480 winning percentage puts them in last place in the East while it’d be 3rd in either Central division.
Secondary Issues: The Phillies don’t really excel at anything, they’re 8th in the NL in HR and that’s their highest ranking. They also can’t really field, sporting a last-in-the-NL Zone Rating of -53.1. They’re particularly weak up the middle – as neither middle infielder did much, their catcher (Logan Moore, 1.8 WAR) saw his production dip this season and CF Anthony Hale has an OPS over .100 points below his career norms.
Left to Play For: The Phillies final 14 games are all against teams that are currently over .500, but 9 of those are teams I’ll likely be writing about here before too long – Atlanta is this week, Cleveland this weekend and next weekend they face the Marlins. They do head to Washington for a 4-game set as the Nationals try and put the division to bed. They also have a September 30th rainout makeup in Cincinnati, who currently holds just a half game lead in the NL Central. On a Phillies-centric note, not much to really shoot for. Getting to .500 would be nice as they haven’t been under that mark since 2014 (need to go 10-4) but might be a stretch given the schedule. I’m sure the Mets and Cardinals would love to see the Phillies finish 10-4 though.
2020 Outlook: On paper pretty good, with the players they have in house. The catch is going to be in the money. Their 2020 payroll is currently slated to be $25 million over this years – just with arbitration raises. They sport (currently) the National League’s 5th highest budget, but even still might face some tough decisions in arbitration if they want to get better up the middle and in the pen. Without a current top-100 prospect in the system, they’re unlikely to find much help internally with call ups.