The Philadelphia Phillies were a rollercoaster of a baseball team, only leading to their 2021 demise.
Sometimes you love something so much it exhausts you: a puppy, a job, a team.
Something that genuinely puts a pit in your stomach if something goes wrong. Real pain. Nausea.
I don’t mean to be so drab, but after the last 162 Phillies’ games, I’m ready for football season.
Let me explain.
As someone who watched at least 85% of the Philadephia Phillies 2021 slate (don’t tell Liam), this team showed glimpses of the 2008 squad that you just couldn’t put away.
Meanwhile, the other side of the coin may as well have been a sticky Subway penny. In other words, a collection of disappointing youngsters, the fall from grace of a former ace, and so many errors.
Please don’t misunderstand me. It’s been a fantastic season and the first I’ve personally covered the Phillies this attentively; ergo, myself and some others have put together a little post mortem.
So let’s hand out some awards, beginning with the man who chose to cut his hair as soon as the Phillies didn’t make the playoffs.
‘MV3’ Award for Heart and Soul – OF Bryce Harper
Too easy. I suppose Harper’s in the running for the NL MVP, considering his league-leading 1.044 OPS & .615 Slugging. That said, and I know this will sound silly, Harper has under 100 RBIs.
From 2000-2019, of forty total league MVPs, only nine have won the award with less than 100 RBIs, one of them being Harper in 2015. That’s to say, 84 RBIs and sitting home for October could hurt his standing, but Phillies fans know just what they saw this season.
Without him, this team is unnecessarily bloated, old, and worse than the New York Mets. No thanks.
Cheers to ten more years.
Honorable mentions: Zack Wheeler, Jean Segura, Ranger Suarez
‘High Socks Swagger’ Award for Best Offseason Signing – IN/OF Brad Miller
It just felt like he did this all year.
I’m living in “La-La Land” to a certain extent, but I don’t know how the Phillies make it through this season, especially given the injuries to Rhys Hoskins, without the boomerang of Brad Miller. It’s all about volume.
Miller played in 140 games this season. Only Andrew McCutchen and Harper made more appearances (144 and 141, respectively).
McCutchen and Harper made $47.5MM combined in 2021. Miller made $3.5MM.
Maybe this points to a more significant issue with the Phillies roster, but Miller was your best signing of 2021.
”The Marvel ‘What If” Award for Health – 1B Rhys Hoskins – @Alec Kostival
The offense was undoubtedly better with Big Hosk in the lineup.
Once he was gone Harper, saw fewer and fewer hittable pitches. If he doesn’t suffer a season-ending injury, the Phillies offense doesn’t have to feature Brad Miller for over a month. With Rhys Lightning, the Phillies could’ve made a serious push. Oh well, ce la vie.
‘They Must Not Have A Lot of Tape on Him’ Award for Let’s See Him Do It Again Next Year – SP/CP Ranger Suarez
I’m not sure this is much of a take anymore, but Suarez kept the Phillies afloat.
His 5.9 WAR tied Harper, yes, and fell behind only Wheeler for second-best on the team. I’d love to ‘Back to the Future‘ those odds last spring.
Numbers are nice, but we watched him transition from closer-by-committee to a legitimate threat within the starting rotation. Many young guns disappointed this season, but Suarez stood out as a man among boys. Let’s run it back in 2022 (jeez, weird to type).
‘The Amazing Spiderman‘ Award for Most Disappointing – 2B Scott Kingery
What could have been? Kingery is just like Andrew Garfield’s Spiderman: we’ll see him again, but we expected so much more the first time. Call it impenitence.
In 2018, the Philadelphia Phillies thought they outsmarted the league by signing their xx overall prospect to a 6-year, $24MM contract. The results since have left much to be desired.
Since 2018, Kingery has had an OPS of .667 and just 19 hits in his last 132 ABs.
I know that injuries and a weird 60-game season don’t help things, but at this point, the Phillies don’t even know where to play him. He’s making $6.25MM next season, and he might not land on the 40-man roster.
Ultimately, as disappointing as Alec Bohm’s season ended, I think Kingery’s future is much more terrifying, so Happy Halloween. The trick must be that we still believed in a team that hasn’t made the postseason since 2011.
‘I Refuse to Give Up on You Because I Love You Too Much’ Award for Most Likely to Rebound – SP Aaron Nola
I don’t think I can handle another ‘Geaux’ pun. I’m so tired of the LSU Tigers. Auburn’s better, sorry LSU #GeauxNix.
I think Nola’s lousy season was extenuated by his one-time title as ace apparent. He was the chosen one.
Even with a WAR of 2.7 on the season, we can all agree Nola was disappointing.
‘They Are Who We Thought They Were’ Award for Biggest Bonehead Statement – SP Aaron Nola – @Colin Newby
Nola finished with just five quality starts in his final 21 appearances from June 1 through the end of the 2021 season. His comment was poorly timed for someone expected to pitch at the top of the rotation this season, yet played a significant role in the failure to take advantage of division opponents who practically asked them to steal a playoff berth.
The ‘Mark Wahlberg of the Departed‘ Award for Most Likely Mic Drop – OF Andrew McCutchen
I like to believe McCutchen snuffs out the rat in the Phillies clubhouse before making his exit.
It will be sad to see McCutchen go, but with a club option of $15MM for 2022, I’m not sure you can justify bringing him back at age 35. Even with an oWAR of 2.1, his -7 Runs from Fielding aren’t justifiable, and the Phillies have better options at DH (if that comes to fruition).
The Phillies would do well to roll the dice on the return of someone like Adam Haseley, Roman Quinn, or even Mickey Moniak. The Phillies are going to need to free up some money to rebuild (again) their bullpen.
Archie Bradley, Hector Neris, Matt Moore, and Ian Kennedy are all scheduled to hit free agency, and I wouldn’t be surprised if none of them return.
The ‘Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here Award‘ Award for What Could Have Been – SP Tyler Anderson – @Alec Kostival
The lefty number 5 starter had a 3.38 ERA in his first ten starts as a Mariner. Remember, the Phillies could’ve had him for cheap, but then the would-be trade fell through.
It would’ve been nice not having a bullpen game every fifth day by design, for some Godforsaken reason.
Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire