During the Philadelphia Phillies 2016 Spring Training, former manager Charlie Manuel suggested that he believed that the team could have a Houston Astros type rise to success over the course of the next few seasons if they continued to be successful in their player development.
A year later, Manuel doesn't have an exact date for when he thinks the team will return to contention, but he told Phillies director of public affairs Scott Palmer that likes some of the young talent that he's seen as a guest instructor in camp:
"I think last year's experience was really good for our pitchers and also good for guys like Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis, [Odubel] Herrera, some of our younger guys ... [Maikel] Franco. I think we gotta keep going and then we can keep adding to that. I think they'll tell us when it's time."
In addition to the talent already at the major league level that Manuel alluded to, the team has a wealth of talent at the upper levels of their farm system. Top prospects J.P. Crawford, Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Jake Thompson, Dylan Cozens, Rhys Hoskins and Roman Quinn are all likely to open the season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
In addition to the talent already in the organization, Manuel also reminded fans that the organization will compete financially with nearly every team in the league if they believe they are close to winning a championship:
"I think I know a little bit more about the Phillies because I've been working with them for quite a while, and I know that they're willing to spend money to bring the top-notch players and put them on our team. And I think there's a time when they will make decisions about that."
Manuel, who is the winningest manager in franchise history, is well aware of the organization's commitment to spending. During the parts of nine seasons that he was the club's manager, he saw the team make major financial commitments to Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Brad Lidge, among others.
Manuel's assessment of the team's future is a very well thought out approach. He likes the team's surplus of young talent, but understands that it's hard to put a clock on when young talent will figure it out. Like he said, when the young talent comes around, the Phillies have money to spend and will likely assure that the next competitive era of their franchise is as prolonged as possible.