Coming into the offseason, the Phillies had a lot of work to do. They had to address holes on the mound, bullpen, catcher, shortstop, and bench while bringing in a new front office. After several acquisitions, the Phillies have covered those holes, at least on paper, in a productive winter. Here are the key acquisitions from this offseason for the Phillies ranked, based on which ones will have the most critical impact on the season.
Transaction that didn’t make the list:
Signed RHP Bryan Mitchell, Signed RHP Neftali Feliz, Signed RHP David Paulino, Signed Michael Ynoa, Re-Signed INF Ronald Torreyes, Re-Signed C Christian Bethancourt, Signed OF, Travis Jankowski, Signed C Jeff Mathis and Acquired INF C.J. Chatham
All of these moves provide depth for the Phillies, but I don’t expect to see these faces at the big league level this season, as they will most likely have a minimal impact on the season.
- Signed Ivan Nova to a minor league deal
I don’t expect Nova to make the big league roster to start the season, but I think the Phillies will keep him around for depth. If a starting pitcher goes down with an injury, or the Phillies need an extra arm for a double-header, Nova is a viable option to suit up in red pinstripes.
- Acquired Sam Coonrod from the Giants
The Phillies lacked velocity out of the pen last year. Finding hard throwers became a trend this offseason, which is where pitcher Sam Coonrod comes in. According to Baseball Savant, his average fastball velocity was 97.6 mph. Other than that however, Coonrod will have to fight for meaningful innings as he finished the 2020 season with a 9.82 ERA.
- Signed Hector Rondon to a minor league contract
Pitcher Hector Rondon might make the major league roster, but he will have to prove himself in Spring Training. His numbers last year weren’t too pretty as he allowed 17 earned runs in 20 innings pitches (7.65 ERA). However, the move can’t hurt the Phillies as it is a low-risk high-reward move for them.
- Signed Matt Joyce to a minor league contract
The Phillies added to their bench by signing outfielder Matt Joyce to a minor league contract. It’s a strong possibility he’ll make the big league roster to pinch-hit and occasionally give the starters a day off. Joyce, who was an All-Star back in 2011, isn’t anything special, but is still a solid big league bat who had an on-base percentage of .351 last year.
- Agreed to terms with Brad Miller
Infielder Brad Miller returns to Philly after playing for the Phillies in 2019. With no DH in the National League this year, Miller is going to get a ton of pinch-hit opportunities as he provides a lot of pop at the plate. His hard-hit percentage was 43.3 in 2020 according to Baseball Savant and his slugging percentage was .451. He also provides depth at almost every position on the diamond, as he played every position besides catcher and pitcher at some point in his career.
- Signed Matt Moore to one-year contract
This move for the Phillies was a head-scratcher for me. The lefty will most likely find himself in the starting rotation as he was the starting pitcher the Phillies opted for over a lot of other free-agent candidates. After success early in his career, Moore had his struggles in the majors and headed to Japan in 2020. His numbers were solid there as he had a 2.65 ERA, but will it transfer back into the MLB? If he is able to reinvent himself into a quality big league starter again, then he will be a solid pickup for the backend of a rotation that is top-heavy.
- Signed Chase Anderson to a one-year contract
This move can’t hurt the Phillies too much and creates some new options for them. The Phillies won’t have to worry about lack of arms in the bullpen or rotation as they determine what pitcher Spencer Howard’s role will be for the upcoming season. The depth pitcher Chase Anderson gives will help the Phillies make the best decision for Howard’s future. Anderson will battle with pitcher Vince Velasquez for that fifth spot in the rotation and it wouldn’t be a shock if the Phillies are ready to replace Velasquez in the rotation. Anderson has found success as in 55 starts combined from 2017-2018, his ERA was 3.37. He struggled mightily last year with a 7.22 ERA, but if he does win a starting role and finds some sort of success, it will be a big-time pickup for the pitching staff.
- Re-Signed Sir Didi
The Phillies would have an easy fix if shortstop Didi Gregorius, as they would have Jean Segura back to shortstop and insert infielder Scott Kingery into the starting role, but a lot of production would have been lost. His 2019 season was cut short because of injury, so it will be interesting to see how he’ll adapt to a full season after two short years, although it is worthy to note that he played all 60 games last season. Even with a small sample size, Gregorius seems to be improving as his on-base percentage jumped from .276 to .339 from 2019 to 2020 along with a slight increase in slugging percentage.
- Signed Archie Bradley to a one-year contract
After the worst bullpen in the majors last year, the Phillies needed to find reliable arms. In comes pitcher Archie Bradley, who has established himself as exactly that, reliable. In 18 and a third innings last year, Bradley had an impressive 2.95 ERA and only gave up one home run to go along with an opponent on-base percentage of .288. If Bradley’s numbers continue this trend into 2021, he will be a reliable arm out of the bullpen, no matter what his role is.
- Acquired Jose Alvarado from the Rays
This lefty reliever is simply electric. According to Baseball Savant, Alvarado had an average fastball velocity of 96.1 in 2020, and occasionally touched 100 mph. That was on a small sample size, as he only pitched nine innings in 2020, but in 2019 Alvardo’s velocity was even better with an average velocity of 97.1 and occasionally reaching over 100 mph. He has swing-and-miss stuff as his sinker, the pitch he uses the most, breaks 1.5 inches more than the league average, and in 2019 and 2020 his cutter had a whiff percentage of 61.4 and 42.9 respectively. Alvarado will be a key arm out of the pen late in games this season against lefty bats.
- Signed Tony Watson to a minor league contract
I’m surprised the Phillies were able to sign Watson to a minor-league contract, but he’ll be a lock for the big league roster. The lefty adds another reliable reliever to the bullpen. The job of a pitcher is run prevention, and Watson has a career ERA of 2.80. Last year in 21 appearances, he had an ERA of 2.50. What does this mean? Watson is a reliable run preventer out of the pen, which is just what the doctor ordered.
- Signed Brandon Kintzler to a minor league contract
Again, I’m surprised the Phillies inked Kintzler to a minor-league contract. As stated before, the Phillies needed to find reliable relievers and Kintzler has been that. In 2019 and 2020, his ERA was 2.68 and 2.22 respectively. He gained experience closing last year as well as he recorded 12 saves in 14 save opportunities in 2020. Before this signing, Hector Neris and Archie Bradley were the two favorite candidates to be the closer this season, but now Kintzler is definitely in the mix. Regardless of his role, Kintzler seems like he will be a reliable arm for the Phils out of the pen.
- Re-Signed J.T. for five years and $115.5 million dollars
Replacing the best catch in baseball was going to be next to impossible, but fortunately for the Phillies, it isn’t something they will have to worry about. It was quite a rollercoaster ride for Phillies fans and thankfully the organization didn’t have to deal with the outrage that would have occurred if catcher J.T. Realmuto left. Realmuto will return to the middle of the Phillies lineup where he will be a threat to win a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove award. The Phillies would have taken a huge step back if Realmuto didn’t return to Philadelphia, but with a new five-year contract, Realmuto will be a favorite for the city’s baseball fans.
- Hired Dave Dombrowski as President of Baseball Operations
The hiring of manager Dave Dombrowski will be a transcendent decision for this franchise as they try to turn the tides and win a championship. Since he was hired as general manager by the Marlins in 1993, his teams have found success at some point. He helped lead the Marlins to a championship in 1997 and then went to Detroit in 2002, where he got the Tigers to five playoff appearances and two World Series appearances in almost 14 seasons with the Tigers. He then went to Boston, where the Red Sox won a World Series in 2018. When you combine Dombrowski and manager Joe Girardi’s championship pedigrees, the duo seems destined to accomplish incredible things in Philadelphia.