We thought COVID-19 was going to be the only reason we might not see a baseball season this year. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is in one corner, and opposing him of course is the MLB players association. For weeks now we have watched as both sides continue to not only deny each other’s proposal’s, but openly and even boldly criticize one another for the lack of a resolution. This season is in serious jeopardy. It’s still reasonable to assume some form of a season will most likely be taking place, but if 2020 continues along its current path of chaos can we really count anything out. So let’s get really crazy shall we?
The 2020 season has been canceled due to an over abundance of greed and stupidity! Now Phillies fans, like the rest of baseball must look ahead to the 2021 season. What can we expect from this organization during the free agency period leading up to opening day 2021? We know some names, some we would clearly love to see in the city of brotherly love. But who can we expect? Which players are viable fits financially? Do any of the top free agents fit into the teams most pressing needs. For arguments sake we will leave Realmuto off this list, because signing him should be priority number 1! So here we will break down the top 3 FA’s (ranking them from 3-1) who make the most sense on the field, and financially for the Phightin’s in 2021.
Well number three is a familiar face. Ken Giles pitched for the Phillies in 2014-15. Since then he has been a closer and set up man for both the Astros and Blue Jays with varying results at times, but the stuff is still there. In 53 innings last year, Giles had a 1.87 ERA and 83 K’s. A fantastic 14.1 K/9 rate and WHIP of exactly 1.000 will put Giles in line for a decent payday when he hits the market. At 30 he is still at a reasonable age for a 2-3 year deal. The Phillies before this lack of a season to being in a bunch of question marks to fill in the voids in the bullpen. Spaces will be open, especially since it’s recently been reported by Matt Glen of “The Athletic” that Seranthony Dominguez will be getting Tommy John Surgery and will most likely miss the entirety of the 2021 season along with whatever we get in 2020. Clearly this team will need another arm in the bullpen with a proven track record. Giles age and ability should fit nicely in the back end along with Hector Neris.
In 2017 Robbie Ray was the next big thing when it came to left handed starting pitching. An All Star campaign from a lefty who can pile up the strikeouts is always fun to watch, and always highly sought after. The last two years Ray has shown mixed results, but one thing has always been quite clear, he can send guys back to the dugout quickly with some devastating movement to his pitches. A 4.34 ERA in 174.1 innings and 234 strikeouts will slot in nicely as a number 3 in the rotation behind Nola and Wheeler. Jake Arrieta will be coming off the books (bout time!) and Ray, thought the best left handed start available, won’t cost a small fortune due to his lack of consistency to this point. But at 29, he will be a proven upgrade behind the two horses at the front of the rotation compared to what we have to work with now.
Sure you’d love to see top FA to be Mookie Betts on top of this list, but two $300 million dollar outfield contracts aren’t exactly realistic. Insert Starling Marte. Marte is a fantastic five tool player who was recently traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks. His skill set will play perfectly in any ballpark and defensively can play all 3 outfield positions. He doesn’t have the ability to dominate any one statistical category, but he’s a solid contributor across the board. His age is slightly concerning being that he will be 32, but outside of one season he has been relatively durable to this point in his career. A career .287 hitter who can play solid defense in center and potentially give you 20 homers and 20 steals isn’t easy to find. What he is expected to get on the open market at his age will be interesting. But when healthy, his ability is worth the money.