Typically, early November in baseball is a boring time. Maybe clubs make small moves here or there. The rumor mill just starts to circulate. Outside of award season, it’s a mostly quiet time.
On Thursday, the Phillies somehow packed multiple newsworthy events into an 8-hour span. Over that time, they hired a new Assistant General Manager, had a player win a major award, and were connected to multiple free agents.
So, let’s shift through all the Phillies news.
The Phillies had 2 players up for the Louisville Silver Slugger award, honoring the best hitters at each position. J.T. Realmuto fell short, losing to Giants’ legend Buster Posey, who just announced his retirement. While both players had a 3.5 bWAR, Buster was far and away the better offensive player. He had a .304 batting average and his OPS+ was 140 (compared to Realumto’s .263 and +110).
A new trophy will be added to the Phillies’ trophy case, as Bryce Harper won a Silver Slugger for the outfield along with Juan Soto and Nick Castellanos. This was Harper’s second ever Silver Slugger after winning one in his 2015 MVP campaign.
As the suspected NL MVP, it comes as no surprise. Bryce led all of baseball in doubles (42), slugging % (.615), OPS (1.044), and OPS+ (179). On top of that, he had 100 BB, 101 runs scored, and 35 homers.
Harper becomes just the 3rd ever Phillies’ outfielder to win a Silver Slugger.
Doubt it if you have to, but rumors are one of the best parts of baseball. In the information age, rumors can be found around every corny. The real trick is evaluating it’s veracity. When you find a trustworthy source that has a s a u c y rumor, you can’t help but get excited.
Of course, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman dropped all 3 rumors.
Let’s sort these from least likely to most likely.
First off, the Bryan Reynolds tweet is more of a “hey, the Phillies need this position and the Pirates are shopping their star”. With the loosest of connections, don’t look for Bryan Reynolds to be in red pinstripes any time soon. Plus, the Phillies probably couldn’t afford the “”astronomical”” prospect cost.
Starling Marte would certainly improve the Phillies’ 2/3 empty outfield. Marte has consistently been one of the best offensive centerfielders over the past decade. Between Miami and Oakland in 2021, he slashed .310/.383/.458 and stole 47 bases. If the Phillies are serious about acquiring his services, they’ll have to pay a pretty penny. One thing they won’t have to pay is a draft pick and international pool money since he was traded this past season.
If you blinked, you missed it, but Aaron Loup has been a Phillie before. They acquired the lefty from the Blue Jays in 2018 for Jacob Waguespack. He only pitched 4 innings as a Phillie and gave up 2 runs. Since leaving the Phils, he’s posted a 1.38 ERA over 85 IP. He had a fantastic 2021, so expect him to get a raise from his $3 million Mets salary. Heyman mentioned that he could sign quick. Don’t be surprised if the Phillies pluck him from the rival Mets.
Before yesterday, I guarantee none of us knew the name Anirudh Kilambi. Now, he might be the Phillies’ most exciting hire since Dave Dombrowski. The 27-year-old was the assistant director of research and development for the Tampa Bay Rays until the Phillies hired him away as an assistant general manager.
You don’t have to look far to see what a hire from the Rays organization can do for you. The Boston Red Sox weren’t expected to do much in 2021. Expectations are a fickle thing as they made the playoffs in a slog known as the AL East and beat the Yankees in the Wild Card game. Of course, their Chief Baseball Officer is Chaim Bloom, formerly the Vice President of Baseball Ops for the Rays.
One of the worries that fans and writers had when Dombrowski first came in was that he’d stick too much to the old school way of thinking. Hiring a 27-year-old from the most analytical team in baseball, could be a great step for the future of the Phillies.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire