The Winter Meetings haven’t started yet, but the Phillies have already started their mission.
Code name: O.C.T.O.B.E.R.
Offseason Calculated Tactical Operation Bringing Evelvated Record
Does the mission sound difficult? Possibly. Is it overly complicated? Yes, needlessly so. Will there be casualties?
Sadly, yes. There has already been a casualty. Cole Hamels has fallen to the evil Atlantians. They’ve wiped his mind. He’s now under their team control.
We mustn’t give up hope. The Phillies have already brought in reinforcements to combat the menace. They’ve hired a mercenary from Flushing, Queens.
… So the overly dramatic futuristic NL East war drama isn’t working for you? Oh… Well, here are 3 players the Phillies need to be in on to compete in 2020.
There’s no classified document to hide the fact that the Phillies bullpen was decimated in 2019. Injury after injury occurred as the Phillies somehow didn’t run out of players.
Players like Mike Morin, Blake Parker, and Fernando Salas were all picked up mid-season because of the lack of depth. If the Phillies want to improve in 2020, they’re going to have to address the bullpen.
Enter (not sandman) Blake Treinen.
Treinen was recently non-tendered by the Oakland A’s. Just a year ago, Treinen couldn’t be touched by any hitter. A 0.78 ERA emphasized by 100 strikeouts in 80.1 IP marked him as one of the elite bullpen arms in baseball.
Then the juiced ball happened…probably. In 2019, Treinen’s HR/9 rate skyrocketed to double any point in his career to a 1.4 HR/9. His ERA also took a pounding, jumping to 4.91.
Why shouldn’t that scare the Phillies? Blake Treinen has had a blip like this on his record before.
Back in 2017 when Treinen was still on the Nationals, he struggled to open the season. In his first 37.2 IP, he recorded a 5.73 ERA with the Nationals before being traded to the A’s. He rebounded with a 2.13 ERA, closing out 13 games.
He’ll be the perfect rebound candidate for the Phillies.
This is where I’d put Cole Hamels...IF I HAD ONE!
After much deliberation with myself, I decided there was only one answer: Rich Hill.
Before you make the over-the-Hill jokes, listen here. Since his age-35 season, Rich Hill has had a 2.91 ERA with a 1.055 WHIP. Forty-one of HIll’s 65 career wins came in this span. In 13 starts in 2019, Hill posted a 2.45 ERA.
Rich Hill will be 40-years-old by the time the season starts. New Phillies pitching coach Bryan Price could bring out the most of the elder statesman. Price started his coaching career as the pitching coach for the Mariners from 2001-2006.
A crafty lefty by the name of Jamie Moyer played for the Mariners from 1996-2006. In 2000, the year before Price, Moyer put up a miserable 5.49 ERA with a 1.468 WHIP.
From 2001-2003 in his age 38-40 seasons, Moyer was at his best. In 100 starts, Moyer posted a 3.34 ERA, winning 20 games in 2 of those seasons. In 2 of those seasons, he was top-5 in Cy Young voting.
Bryan Price knows how to handle veterans and could do the same with Hill, a 40-year-old crafty lefty.
I don’t want to call him Moyer, but he’s 2020 Moyer.
The Phillies can really use a lefty in the rotation. Hill probably won’t start more than 25 games, but that actually could be a perfect set up for Spencer Howard to make his debut sometime in August. That would make sense being that Howard needs some time in AAA.
The Phillies got rid of both Maikel Franco and Cesar Hernandez this past week. That leaves the Phillies with a shortage of infielders at the moment.
Do you know how you solve that issue? Get all of the infielders at once.
Brock Holt has played every position on the field outside of catcher and pitcher, being average to above average at every position defensively.
Guess what else Brock Holt does well? He rakes.
His career batting average is .271. In the last 2 seasons, that average has been at .286. His OBP, in general, has been solid the past 2 seasons at .366.
He hits. He fields. I’m sure you’re asking, “what’s the catch?”. Well, Brock Holt is a tad injury prone. Since his first “full” season, Holt has averaged just 96 games.
He’ll cost under $10 million and closer to 5 than 10. Boom, the perfect bench bat.
Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports