Phillies Running Out of Time (and options) to Acquire Desperately-Needed No.2 SP

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After coming out of the gates running with the acquisitions of all-star SS Jean Segura and former MVP outfielder Andrew McCutchen, things have seemingly gone cold for the Phils. GM Matt Klentak and Owner John Middleton have yet to deliver on their lofty promises regarding offseason spending- instead taking a more conservative approach as open-market players find new homes elsewhere. Their pursuit of superstar sluggers Manny Machado and Bryce Harper haven’t gone swimmingly either, but the primary cause for concern this offseason is the team’s incomprehensible willingness to head into next season with the same starting rotation.

On the surface, the Phillies’ middle-of-the-pack 15th ranked rotation ERA of 4.12 doesn’t seem like something to pull your hair out over, but the need for a reliable No.2 starter are emphasized when you remove ace Aaron Nola’s superb numbers from the equation. Phils’ starters not named Aaron Nola recorded a putrid 5.66 ERA in 129 starts last season. Furthermore, the non-Nola starters’ 4.07 FIP (focuses solely on the events a pitcher has the most control over — strikeouts, unintentional walks, hit-by-pitches and home runs. It entirely removes results on balls hit into the field of play) was a bit more favorable than their ERA, but still leaves a lot to be desired.

Unfortunately for the Phils, there aren’t too many free-agent options left that could remedy their shortcomings. After whiffing on Patrick Corbin and reportedly being unwilling to meet 2015 AL Cy Young Winners Dallas Keuchel’s contract demands, Klentak and Co. find themselves in no man’s land as they look for an ace to pair with Nola. Rumors have circulated connecting the Phillies to prized trade targets Corey Kluber and Robbie Ray, but not much has materialized on that front either. I’m not suggesting that the sky is falling, per se, but the Phils definitely need to get a bit more creative and aggressive in their approach to finding Nola a running mate, because going into 2019 with the same rotation ​is not​ shouldn’t be an option.

 

 

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

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