This upcoming offseason will be crucial for the Philadelphia Phillies to take the next step. After finishing with a winning record for the first time since 2011, there should be no reason they can’t repeat and expand on that success in 2022.
Finishing second place in the National League East is a step in the right direction, but another late collapse cost the Phils from making the postseason. The Atlanta Braves, the 2021 World Series champions, could have been erased from history if the Phillies had taken care of business. The team will need their President of Baseball Operations, Dave Dombrowski, to make some splashes to avoid making this mistake again. However, not every signing or trade needs to be a blockbuster deal.
Dombrowski needs to work some magic with the current roster, and one of the most important tasks will be finding diamonds in the rough. The following players could be significant contributors next season and help take them back to the bright lights of playoff baseball.
5. Hanser Alberto – Utility
Hanser Alberto has the Philadelphia Phillies written all over him. He is a pure contact hitter who can play all infield positions. This season, he can take over as the primary utility player for the Phillies while providing only a slight drop-off when he gives the starters some rest.
Hanser has a .297 batting average over the last three years, paired with 96 hits a season. Hanser has also hit 15 or more doubles in each of the previous three years. A solid bat that can come off the bench and provide contact is something that the Phillies have not had in recent years. Building a solid bench will be very important for the Fightins this season if they would like to take the next step and compete for the division title.
Relying on their starters to carry the lineup each and every day is just not feasible. Signing a player such as Hanser Alberto can give Joe Girardi flexibility with his daily lineups and add a valuable bench piece. A 2-year, $3.25 million dollar deal seems like a nice fit.
4. Pedro Severino – Catcher
Coming off one of his best seasons in the major leagues, Pedro Severino could be a tremendous bench piece for the ‘22 Phillies. After spending his first seven years in Washington and Baltimore, Pedro is very familiar with Citizens Bank Park (as seen below).
2021 was his first time seeing an increase in playing time and Severino made the most of his opportunity. Posting 18 doubles, 11 home runs, and 46 RBI’s, he could prove to be a solid backup behind JT Realmuto.
With the addition of the designated hitter in the National League, the Phillies would be wise to move Realmuto around. Giving JT games at first base and at the DH spot would open up opportunities for Severino to catch or even DH himself.
Another reason why this deal could work is if the Phillies decide to give Rafael Marchan more time to develop. Letting Marchan play in AAA to start the year would benefit the young player as he would continue to gain playing experience. Pedro Severino could potentially sign to a lower-caliber team as a starter, but the chance of competing should be enough to get him to Philly. A 1-year / 2.5-3 million dollar deal would be a great salary range for Pedro Severino.
3. Brett Gardner – Outfield
Brett Gardner’s Yankees career looks like it has officially come to an end. After 14 years in the Bronx, he has been a part of many winning teams in New York. A member of the 2009 World Series champion Yankees, Gardner has experienced it all when it comes to postseason success. While he is towards the end of his career, Brett could be a great fit with the Philadelphia Phillies.
A leader on and off the field is something that the Phillies have lacked in the past. With Andrew McCutchen now gone, Brett Gardner can fill that void on the bench. While he won’t play every day, he brings a unique skill set in terms of speed and a little bit of power.
With 274 career stolen bases Gardner can add an element that the Phillies have lacked in recent years. While he is no Roman Quinn in terms of speed, he is still faster than most guys, and has a great baserunning IQ. Gardner has a little bit of pop still left in his bat, and when given some chances off the bench he can flash that power. A 1-year, $2 million dollar deal would be a steal for the Philadelphia Phillies.
2. Jon Gray – Starter
A guy that baseball junkies love but many fans don’t know is right-handed pitcher Jon Gray. The former Rockies right-hander will hit free agency this season, and a smart team will scoop him right up. Gray was rumored to be moved around the trade deadline; however, the Rockies decided to hold onto him and not gain anything in return.
Gray, who you could say has dealt with the Coors Field effect, has still shown to be an efficient pitcher. He posted a 4.59 era, with 157 strikeouts in 149 innings pitched. Jon has been very reliable in terms of health, as he averages 34 starts a season.
Something to be careful of is his knack for allowing home runs. On average, he allows 24 home runs against per 162 game. While some of those may be because he pitched in Colorado, Citizens Bank Park is also notorious for being hitter-friendly.
Regardless, depth is something the Phillies did not have in their starting rotation in 2021. With Zach Eflin’s return to the big leagues still unknown for 2022, Jon Gray could be a really nice piece for the Phillies going forward. A 3-year, $20 million dollar deal should be enough to bring Jon Gray into Phillies’ red.
1. Kirby Yates – Closer
Kirby Yates was one of the best closers in baseball in 2019. A 1.19 ERA paired with 41 saves, Yates was absolutely dominant for the San Diego Padres. An injury-plagued 2020 only allowed Kirby to pitch in 6 games for San Diego before leaving to sign with the Blue Jays in the offseason. Yates would not pitch a single game for Toronto, as he missed the entire season following Tommy John surgery.
When healthy, Yates was extremely solid for the San Diego Padres. The veteran closer could be a perfect fit for the 2022 Phillies. A one-year prove-it deal for the righthander to show the league he can still play. A cheap deal for the Phillies allows roster flexibility while also potentially allowing Yates the opportunity to shine. This deal can very much be a win-win for both parties, and at the very worst, the Phillies can cut ties with almost no repercussions. A 1-year, $3-4 million dollar deal should get the job done.
Photo: Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire