The Philadelphia Phillies 2016 season was one that saw a lot of young talent emerge as future key pieces. Despite a 71-91 record, the Phillies have a young roster that can grow as a group and could bring them back to their 2008 World Series selves in short order. Having to compete in the NL East is no easy task, and when you finish 24 games back of the division champion Washington Nationals, multiple areas need to be addressed.
Philadelphia Phillies 2016 Offseason Needs
How the Jeremy Hellickson situation is likely to play out in next two weeks. Plus, farm system honored by MiLB: https://t.co/Z0KUw3hrqk
Re-sign Jeremy Hellickson
The starting pitcher pool is thin this year, and Hellickson is arguably the best available. He pitched well this past season, going 189.0 innings while maintaining a respectable 3.71 ERA. He made $7 million this past season and will be looking for a substantial increase, possibly doubling that mark. Is he worthy of that kind of jump? No, but when the starters available to sign are few and far between, teams will overpay. Hellickson gives the Phillies pitching staff a solid number two starter behind Vince Velasquez and a guy who can throw 200 innings.
Move on from Ryan Howard
The 36-year-old first baseman is a shell of his former self. He can still hit the long ball, having knocked out 25 this past season, but he’s more of a hindrance to their future success than a piece of it. In 112 games, played he batted a miserable .196 and was set to make $23 million this upcoming season before hitting the free agent market in 2018, if the Phillies picked up his option. Tommy Joseph has taken over first base duties for the Phillies and it’s difficult to pay a guy what Philadelphia is when he is at best going to be a pinch hitter this upcoming season and play DH in interleague games. His career is winding to a close and he’d love another ring before retiring. Multiple teams in the American League are looking for DH help and the Phillies need pitching help. The Phillies could have picked up his option and then looked to trade him, but instead they decided to decline the option, and now simply have to pay him $10 million. They could still re-sign and then trade him, but either way it is time to move on from the former face of the franchise.
This team is young! Players take time to adjust to the major league level and the majority of their core have done so well in the brief stint they’ve had in the majors. Matt Stairs is now their hitting coach, and he will work to ensure all the young up and coming players continue on the right trajectory. The Phillies minor league system ranks in the top 10 in baseball, and the fans, front office, and coaching staff need to let these guys blossom into the future faces of the Phillies franchise. After declining the 2017 option on Howard’s contract, there is not one member left on the roster from the 2008 World Series team. The current group could be on course to be the 2018 World Series champs.