This promises to be a fascinating offseason for the Phillies. Through the first half of the this recently completed season, the Phillies were hands-down the worst MLB team.
Yet they got an infusion of life from calling up young players like first baseman-outfielder Rhys Hoskins, outfielder Nick Williams, catcher Jorge Alfaro and shortstop-third baseman J.P. Crawford, to name a few.
The Phillies went 38-38 over their last 76 games, avoided the dreaded 100 loss total and finished 66-96, the third worst record in baseball.
That means the Phillies will select third overall in the 2018 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
The Phillies feel that they are ready to take the next step and that contributed in relieving 66-year-old manager Pete Mackanin of his duties.
During the season Mackanin was signed to an extension through the 2018 season, but now he will be an advisor to general manager Matt Klentak.
Nobody will be busier than Klentak this offseason.
First off, he has to hire a manager.
At 35, Klentak is among the new breed of general managers, those who are more into analytics. With that in line, it appears that the Phillies would attempt to hire a younger manager.
One in-house candidate is Dusty Warthan, 44, who has done such a good job as manager in the Phillies minor league system. He has managed at all levels and this year guided the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs to a playoff berth.
Warthan has managed many of the players on the Phillies roster.
It’s possible the Phillies may want to go outside the organization to hire a manager and there will be plenty of candidates.
As of now, there are two other managerial jobs open, the New York Mets and Detroit Tigers.
Besides the manager, there is a middle infield logjam and it will be interesting to see how Klentak attacks it.
The Phillies see Crawford and Scott Kingery as their shortstop and second baseman of the future.
This year’s shortstop, Freddy Galvis played all 162 games and is a strong candidate to win a Gold Glove. He has one more year of arbitration.
Crawford hit .214 in his brief September call-up to the Phillies. He also showed he could play third base, and he took some time from Maikel Franco.
Once looked on as the future of the franchise, it will be interesting if Franco is shopped this offseason. He batted just .230 with a .690 OPS. Franco led the team in both home runs (24) and RBI (76) but they seem like hollow numbers.
Just 25, Franco has now had two poor seasons in a row after a promising start in 2015 when he hit .280 with 14 home runs, 50 RBI and an .840 OPS in 80 games and 304 at-bats.
The Phillies received another productive season from second baseman Cesar Hernandez (.294) and he could be a player that other teams could be interested in.
Alfaro hit .318 in 107 at-bats and it seems as if he could be the catcher of the future, although defensively, he has a way to go. It’s likely that one at least of the other two catchers, Cameron Rupp and Andrew Knapp is also dealt this offseason.
Next week we will go over the Phillies pitching future, which at this time, has many questions.
The Phillies feel good about their young offensive players but the pitching must improve if the team is going to take that important next step.