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Phillies Hold NL East In The Balance

Entering this offseason, Phillies part-owner John Middleton said the team was going to spend “stupid money” to improve this roster. So far, that has amounted to free agent deals for Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson as well as a trade for Jean Segura. The interesting part of that trade was the Phillies dumped Carlos Santana‘s salary as part of the deal.

This helped the Phillies in two ways. First, it has improved a Major League worst fielding team (-146 DRS) by moving Segura to shortstop in place of Scott Kingery, but also by moving Rhys Hoskins from left field to first base. The next thing it did was to free up a little more money for the team to spend stupidly.

So far, the Phillies efforts have been rebuffed. While they have been rebuffed, the Nationals added Kyle Barraclough, Patrick Corbin, Yan Gomes, Trevor Rosenthal, Anibal Sanchez, and Kurt Suzuki. The Braves added Brian McCann and Josh Donaldson. The Mets have revamped their roster with Keon Broxton, Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Jed Lowrie, and Wilson Ramos.

Looking at all of that, you’d be hard to argue the Phillies would repeat their third place finish. Even with an improved roster, you’d have to wonder if they take a step back from their 80-82 record. Still, the Phillies have one major advantage over their NL East opponents – they have money to spend.

Not only do they have money to spend, they’re in on Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. While it may be unrealistic for them to add both, they still have the chance to sign one and pair them with multiple players from a group which includes Dallas Keuchel, Craig Kimbrel, A.J. Pollock, and others. Adding those players to a team which already has Jake Arrieta, Cesar HernandezOdubel Herrera, Hoskins, Aaron Nola, and Segura makes the Phillies a much more formidable team. Depending on what they add, they could not only be the best team in the National League East, but also the entire National League.

Right now, the Phillies are in perfect position. They are bidding on players when their main rivals appear tapped out financially. Moreover, the deepest pockets in baseball (Dodgers, Red Sox, Yankees) do not appear in on the top free agents remaining. Really, the only question remaining for them is what they can do.

If you’re the Mets, the question is what you do in response. This was the same team who put Jarred Kelenic on the table to stop the Phillies from getting Diaz. Diaz is a blip on the radar when compared to players like Harper and Machado. Considering the lengths to which the Mets went to stop the Phillies from getting a closer, you wonder why the inertia on the real difference makers.

And the Mets should make no mistake. The Phillies adding two or three from the remaining top end of the free agent pool is a game changer. If the Phillies strike right, it’s possible it makes everything the Mets have done this offseason completely meaningless. That’s not hyperbole. If the Phillies build a juggernaut to compete with a still up and coming Braves team and strong Nationals team, the Mets could get lost in the shuffle. and they’ll be there without some of their biggest prospects to help in a rebuild.

Keep in mind, the Phillies don’t even have to build a better team than the Mets. They could just build a better team which will make the 19 games against the Mets all the more difficult. Those 19 games could be the difference not just in winning the division, but also being in a position to claim one of the two Wild Card spots.

This is a very dangerous time for the Mets, and as such, it is time for them to step up and start acting like a New York team. Otherwise, they’re probably going nowhere.

11 thoughts on “Phillies Hold NL East In The Balance”

  1. Richard Holmes says:

    On paper everyone in the NL East has gotten better except for the Marlins. You don’t win World Series’ on paper, you’ve got to play the game and I am not sold on the notion that you need superstars to win. With the loaded teams the Nationals have put up the last few years, have they won a World Series? How about the Royals who beat the Mets in 2015? They didn’t have a loaded team but they had a very good team that didn’t let ego get in the way of winning. Do you think that would happen with a Machado or a Harper? My contention is that for every win they give their team with on field heroics, they lose one because of the lack of chemistry prima donnas like that bring to a clubhouse. Please stop it with all the “need to sign Machado or Harper” because they only marginally, in my opinion, will help a team win. The Mets have filled most of their holes ( I would like another reliever and reliable starter) and they shouldn’t worry about what somebody else does. Another note, if the Phillies traded for Diaz I would be much more concerned about them than if they signed one of the aforementioned position players. Closers have a far greater impact on a team’s success than any position player.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      The Nationals have not had a losing season since Bryce Harper made his Major League debut in 2012. That happened partially because he’s a great player who has helped them.

      You win with great players. Harper and Machado are great players, who in turn, make the Mets a great team.

      If the Mets pursue this course, they’re building the third best team in the division, maybe the fourth, and they did it with a prospect purge and taking on an onerous $100 million contact.

      That’s not a recipe for success.

  2. oldbackstop says:

    This is another great article. I think the four NL contenders are in a scrum, and some breakout move could make a clear favorite. I’d personally like to see the Mets sell the farm for Kluber, that is the only move I see that would edge them up.

    Of course, as was said, a few injuries (like the Nats in 2015 or the Mets last May/June) can turn heroes into zeroes.Those 30 something FAs start getting hammies and back pain.

    To quote a Wilpon from the past, I’ll be happy with meaningful games in September.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Mets have already sold the farm, so they might as well go all-in on that plan.

      1. kidcarter says:

        yeah, kelenic was a tough guy to deal…..

      2. Aaron Samuelson says:

        Not completely. They didn’t give up their top 4 starting pitchers or their top 6 young position players (Nimmo, Conforto, Rosario, McNeil, Gimenez & Alonso). I think health is more important than getting another big bat. I think the move the Mets need to make for this off-season to really be a success is to extend deGrom.
        Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Phillies don’t get Harper or Machado. I think they have their eyes on the prize down the line – their hometown boy, Trout.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Mets pitchers are hitting free agency starting 2019

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