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Phillies: 2022’s Big Ifs

 

By Tal Venada, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

While the Philadelphia Phillies are currently in a lockout delay, many faithful are fighting a losing battle with interest in baseball overall and the red pinstripes in particular. Usually, interruptions in a game include filler, but the current transaction freeze allows for in-depth analysis of the upcoming season’s potential.  

 

A Promising Offense:

To be in the playoff conversation, a one-through-eight juggernaut isn’t a prerequisite. Granted, talented players are a must, but a team of All-Stars isn’t a necessity. And there are many routes to the promised land. In fact, many didn’t expect the 2019 Washington Nationals and the 2021 Atlanta Braves.   

IN OTHER WORDS:

“If you're talented enough and play long enough, and put up numbers, you'll get to the Hall of Fame. That doesn't make you a World Series winner.” - Jimmy Rollins

Based on Phillies-related reports and comments from Dave Dombrowski, POB (president of baseball operations), this projected lineup aligns with his strategy for run production and up-the-middle defense. And it features a unique leadoff man with the power to give Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins first-inning at-bats. 

Set your clocks for a two-month delay total of the hot stove league because the owners don’t want to lose a single game. Translation: Spring training will begin on time because a third consecutive campaign of financial losses is not acceptable: Money rules!                       

Exceeding the CBT (competitive-balance threshold) by $20 million with $5 million for Opening Day and $15 million for the trading deadline doesn’t leave enough to plug every hole. Ergo, selective spending. And POB Dombrowski has no choice but to go outside of the organization for any need he can’t fill with in-house personnel.     

Phillies Minimum AAV Payroll:

(average annual value)

AAV COST

PLAYERS

$166.5 million

*11 stars and 14 MILB players on the 40-man roster and benefits.

$15.5 million 

**Arbitration projection for 3 players. 

$2.4 million

***Pre-arbitration projection for 4 youngsters.

$3.6 million

6 at the MLB minimum. 

$188 million

TOTAL for 24 slots.

$26 million

Balance to spend for a projected $214 million AAV.

$31 million

Amount to exceed the projected CBT by $5 million AAV.

* Bryce Harper, JT Realmuto, Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, Jean Segura, Kyle Gibson, Corey Knebel, Didi Gregorius, Seranthony Dominguez, Johan Camargo and Scott Kingery.

** Zach Eflin, Rhys Hoskins and Jose Alvarado.

*** Ranger Suarez, Alec Bohm, Connor Brogdon and Sam Coonrod.


When the clock struck midnight ending Dec. 1, the transaction freeze began and will remain until the new CBA (collective bargaining agreement) goes into effect. So, the Fightins will have roughly $31 million AAV. And $28.9 million AAV would be for Kyle Schwarber ($20 million) and Kevin Kiermaier ($8.9 million). 

One 2022 Phillies Projected Lineup:

With a $60 million asking price for three summers, Schwarber is not an overpay, and Dombrowski –who pursued him heavily before the lockout– will likely agree to his cost as he had done with Realmuto and Gregorius. Plus both sides will probably finalize a contract shortly after the transaction freeze ends.  

Phillies Targeted Left Fielder:

Kyle Schwarber, 28.5:

  • 2021: 113 Gms., 471 PA, a .266 Avg., 32 HR, 71 RBI, a .928 OPS, a 3.1 fWAR and a 145 wRC+ (overall offensive production with 100 as average).
  • Batting 1st: 101 AB, a .297 Avg., 17 HR and 30 RBI.

Leading off, Schwarber excelled because hurlers preferred facing him to Juan Soto and Josh Bell. Ergo, he received better pitches and gave the paying customers 17 souvenirs in 101 at-bats with a .297 mark. Translation: Moundsmen would pitch to him to avoid Harper and Hoskins with more than a solo shot.

In the two hole, Segura is coming off a .290 average with 14 homers, but hitting between Schwerber and Harper would give the Phils two chances to have a run on the board or a man on base for Harper and Hoskins. Basically, the clock is ticking for the second baseman to enjoy serious October baseball for the first time.   

Hair-on-fire Harper may not win his third MVP award, but his numbers should be close to 2021’s due to his postseason aspirations. With Schwarber and Segura before him plus Hoskins behind him, he’ll have more RBI opportunities. Realistically, he could hit .300 with 35 round-trippers and 100 RBIs.               

Hoskins launched 27 bombs with 71 RBIs and a .247 mark despite missing one third of ‘21. So, that projects to 39 home runs and 103 RBIs. And, again, he isn’t in any trade rumors for a second consecutive winter. Basically, players on the corners are adequate fielders, and so is he.   

Phillies Targeted Center Fielder:

Kevin Kiermaier, 31.5:

  • 2021: 122 Gms., 390 PA, a .259 Avg., 4 HR, 37 RBI, a .716 OPS, a 2.5 fWAR and a 101 wRC+ (overall offensive production with 100 as average).

With the red pinstripes absorbing all $12 million of Kiermaier’s pact ($8.9 million AAV), they can offer the Tampa Bay Rays decent –not top– prospects for a salary dump. And if the left-side batter can hit .260 with standout defense in center field, he’ll fill the bill. Hammer out a deal!              

The first of the bottom two is Bohm, who went from the future to the past for many locals. However, he hit .316 for June and July combined, and the POB views him as an in-house solution. And though fans feel otherwise, the Fightins needed a closer, a center fielder and a leadoff man from outside of the organization.      

Besides Bohm working in Clearwater since November to produce respectable offensive stats, Gregorius had surgery to remove elbow inflammation. And he admitted it had affected his hitting and fielding to drop off so dramatically.          

Phillies Projected Lineup:

NO.

BATS

POS.

REGULAR

1.

LH

LF

Kyle Schwarber

2.

RH

2B

Jean Segura

3.

LH

RF

Bryce Harper

4.

RH

1B

Rhys Hoskins

5.

RH

C

JT Realmuto

6.

LH

CF

Kevin Kiermaier

7.

RH

3B

Alec Bohm

8.

LH

SS

Didi Gregorius

While Gregorius could rebound to his 2020 numbers and the six hole, Bohm could perhaps bounce back to .290. And the left-right balance in the lineup would remain the same except with more pop. Yes, the Phils could have a .260 hitter in the eighth spot with Kiermaier.   

Some franchises looking for a corner outfielder are competing for Seiya Suzuki from Japan’s NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball) at $55 million for five years. Unfortunately, he’s a heart-of-the-order bat, and Dombrowski needs a leadoff man. But the 20-day window left limits the immediate competition for Schwarber.      

As for Kiermaier, the Rays want to dump his salary and pick up youngsters, but there hasn’t been much buzz for the leather-first center fielder. Yes, both teams have a doable swap they can strike more quickly before spring training. And a center field glove has value for a contender, plus playing for a contract yields results.              

For 2023, the Phillies have free agents Knebel, Gibson, Eflin and Gregorius; plus Nola and Segura have club options. And what would Kiermaier bring the tally of a make-or-break season to? Seven players.  

 

NEXT:

2022’s Deliberate Approach

Rsz_hoskins_bowa

 

Comments

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Alfonso

Susuki is much better option than shwarber even first or 3d bat. Shwarber is fat and slow to be first bat.segura cant run if he has a cow on base before him. Susuki can stole 20 base , is a gg fielding and hit 300 with power. Shwarber never impress on the past with his numbers. A good president should get him for 6 millions one year contract. He is not worth more, he is slow, low avg type a mediocre player for a medicre team fit with him.

Gerald Giampetro

Tthanks for reading.

I don’t write my opinion of what the team should do, but why and what they did, are doing, or could do. I base that on their needs, their comments, their actions, and my experience from a career in business management and sales. So, you’re not disagreeing with me but with Dombrowski.

Jon f

I could live wievin k if we get schwarbz. Great insight and research.

Jon f

Kevin K* gold glove helps.

RA Junior

“I don’t write my opinion of what the team should do…”

Oh, stop with the stuff congratulatory claptrap. You just spent an entire article saying that Schwarber and Kiermaier should be acquired, (“ Hammer out a deal!”) and you’re wrong, as the above comment illustrates, and without your pseudo-professorial word bloat style of typing.

Perhaps you should roll on down to the nearest community college and take an entry-level writing course first, and then read up on some baseball analysis at 538 or The Athletic. What did you manage, a waste collection and transport service?

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