There has been much written and argued about regarding the quality of the Phillies big league club for the 2015 season. The truth remains the same, the Phillies are going to be really bad in 2015 and there is nothing that can be done about it. The real question is does it really matter, and in a way isn’t it actually good.
The pitching strategy is summed up very well in the persons of Aaron Harang and Jerome Williams. Both are:
- Relatively cheap
- Durable (both GS and P/G)
- No long term commitments
- No repercussions if they are bad (not worried about their confidence)
- Entirely replaceable
- If healthy, easy to trade
Essentially you can run them out every 5 days until they either they break, they are unusable, or they stay healthy long enough that other teams have pitching injuries and give you something for them. The only stats we truly care about are GS and IP. They are merely placeholders in the rotation. If you want, imagine Williams walking around with a sign on his back that says, “This spot reserved for Aaron Nola”. You can add Kevin Slowey, Sean O’Sullivan, and Jeanmar Gomez to the flaming dumpster.
This leaves the rest of the rotation as Cole Hamels (trade chip), David Buchanan (competent starter), Chad Billingsley (¯(ツ)/¯), and prospects. Of this group, probably only Buchanan is around at the end of the year. Right now it is all about stalling until the prospects are ready. Aaron Nola showed why he could be very good in his cameo, Jesse Biddle has flashed his old potential, Joely Rodriguez and Adam Morgan are interesting, Jonathan Pettibone is throwing again, and the three offseason trade acquisitions are quick trip away in Reading. This is all about them arriving on their own schedule, nothing more. The placeholders are just placeholders.
Hitting on the other hand is a bit bleaker. The Phillies don’t have a mass of prospects in AA/AAA like they do on the pitching side. The hitting all comes down to this:
None of these hitters will be impact members of the next great Phillies team.
It really doesn’t matter. Darin Ruf is already old. Odubel Herrera is a utility player. Ben Revere is happy and that is wonderful. Freddy Galvis can’t hit. Ryan Howard was done in 2010. Chase Utley is a Hall of Famer. Carlos Ruiz might as well be a coach. Domonic Brown is just a hope and a prayer. Cody Asche is a nice bench player on a good team. The bench probably shouldn’t have jobs on any team other than the Phillies or the Braves. Any hitting breakouts are going to have to happen in the minor leagues.
Losing is Better:
Major league baseball isn’t the NBA, tanking for a superstar isn’t really the best strategy for getting better (just ask the Houston Astros). But guaranteeing a top pick and a shot at getting a very good prospect at the top of a draft is not a bad consolation prize. Not that it should be difficult for the Phillies, but guaranteeing a protected pick for next year’s free agency is important too.
It Really Doesn’t Matter:
It matters what happens in the minor leagues as players grow and step forward. But in the major leagues the Phillies have punted the season because they have to field a baseball team. They are going to keep flinging crap at the roster until they run out of crap. At that is what will happen. Come about August you are going to look around and the piles of crap are going to gone and in their place will be the players being hidden. The offense will need work and outside influence, but the pitching staff is going to turn over. Change is coming, but right now someone has to go lose some baseball games, so bring out the chumps.