The Phillies were swept by the New York Mets in Queens to finish their latest road trip. A 2-5 record away from Citizens Bank Park leaves the team with a 21-27 record and a 10.5 game deficit in the NL East.
This Phillies team was projected by many, including myself, to be a playoff team this season. Following this pathetic start to the 2022 regular season, there are still five moves that can help change the course of this season.
The Phils still have plenty of time to turn this year around, but will need to turn up the heat quickly if they wish to catch up to the Mets.
1. Fire Joe Girardi
Whether or not you believe that a manager impacts the game, there is no doubt that Joe Girardi has a negative impact on the Phillies.
Girardi was expected to bring a winning culture to Philly and was thought of the be the guy to push them over the hump. Joe had many successful years in New York with the Yankees, including winning the 2009 World Series. Girardi just has not created that constant winner in Philly and the Phillies looked the same as they did under Gabe Kapler. A new voice will be needed if the team has any hopes of turning this season around.
I believe that the Phillies should turn the club over to Dusty Wathan. Dusty has coached at every level in the Phillies organization. His success in the minor leagues proves that he knows how to win, considering how depleted the Phillies farm system has been for the last decade.
In the 2017-2018 off-season, Dusty Wathan was the runner-up to Gabe Kapler for the managerial spot of the Phillies. The organization clearly holds him in high regard, so giving him a chance wouldn’t be a shot in the dark.
Wathan knows these players and has their trust, but more importantly, he has their respect. Giving him a chance to turn this season around and allowing him to coach with the potential of a full-time job, would be the move I would make.
2. Release Odubel Herrera
How many more boneheaded plays and head-scratching swings do we need to watch before we finally move on from Odubel Herrera? While much of the Phillies’ fanbase lost favor with Odubel following his domestic violence incident, the player on the field has not come close to giving him the benefit of the doubt.
Herrera constantly makes poor choices on his swings, baserunning, and defense in the outfield. He hurts the club with his play more than it helps, which should obviously be a red flag. The decision to bring him back is the second-worst move made by Dave Dombrowski since arriving in Philadelphia (keep reading for the first).
Releasing Odubel Herrera will cost the team nothing financially and nothing will be lost on the field. Giving Mickey Moniak, Matt Vierling, and Roman Quinn playing time does not downgrade one of the worst centerfielder units in baseball, but allowing the young talent to try and grow is worth more than keeping Odubel around.
3. Trade Rhys Hoskins
Rhys Hoskins has a grip on Philly fans like no other. One of the few homegrown talents on the team, Rhys won fans over when he smashed 18 homeruns in 50 games in 2017. The then-rookie looked like he would be the heir apparent to Ryan Howard and was the future of the Phillies.
Since then, Hoskins has fallen off hard, constantly battling hot and cold streaks that can last weeks at a time. His defense at first base is subpar and this has added to the notoriety the Phillies defense has received the past few seasons. While his power stroke can be deadly and carry an offense for a week, does his other flaws truly even out with his one-week-a-month hot streaks?
Hoskins Trade Value
Hoskins can still provide a lot of value to the Phillies in a trade. The team can add a middle-of-the-staff starter, a solid veteran reliever, or even a couple AAA level prospects in a deal for Rhys. The team can also attach him and another player in a deal for several major league players. With the designated hitter now in the National League, there are plenty of places he can go and just focus on hitting homeruns. The Padres and White Sox are two teams who lack power, that could potentially seek a player like Rhys in a trade.
The Phillies have options when it comes to replacing Rhys at first base. Moving Alec Bohm to first is the easiest choice, although his third base defense has improved his season. A rotation including Bohm, JT Realmuto, and Johan Camargo is an option if the Phillies want to give backup catcher Garrett Stubbs a few more games behind the dish.
They can promote first basemen, Darick Hall, from the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. The 26-year-old is hitting .269 with 14 homeruns, 49 runs batted in, and currently has a .905 OPS. Regardless of the decision, the Phillies have the depth to replace Rhys if they were to move him in a deal.
4. Sign Dallas Keuchel to Veteran Minimum
The Chicago White Sox designated former Cy Young award-winning Dallas Keuchel for assignment on Friday afternoon.
Dallas was dominant for the Houston Astros for several seasons and was the ace behind their 2017 World Series championship* run. He would move on to the Atlanta Braves in 2019 and then sign a deal with the White Sox in 2020.
His first season was solid with the team but since then has struggled, resulting in the DFA move. He will most likely be released and I believe the Phillies should be all in on Dallas. While his name will do him no favors in this town, Dallas Keuchel could just need a fresh start to find himself once again.
The Phillies have almost no starting pitching depth and could use a veteran lefty. While he may not be the ace of old, Keuchel still has the chance to revive his career. At the very least it is worth looking into for the Phillies, a team that tried out pitchers such as Jason Vargas, Matt Moore, and David Hale in recent seasons.
5. Shake up the Phillies Bullpen
Hollywood could not script the Phillies bullpen any better than the performance it has given the past several seasons. The team has constantly put out pathetic displays in relief and no matter who is pitching, it seems as though the Phillies are just cursed.
Signing Jeurys Familia for 6 million dollars was a waste of payroll and the worst move Dave Dombrowski has made with the Phillies. Corey Knebel has been solid overall but has struggled recently. His role as the closer should remain for now, but if he continues to struggle, Seranthony Dominguez should assume the role.
James Norwood should be released immediately and Francisco Morales should be recalled from the Minors instantly. Letting Morales dominate in Triple-A does nothing to help the Phillies at the very least he has the potential to be something for this team going forward.
Assuming the Phillies can add Dallas Keuchel to a prove-it deal, they should move Ranger Suarez back to the bullpen. Stricly working as a starter has not worked out for Ranger in 2022 and his dominance in 2021 occurred when he was the Swiss army knife of the bullpen.
At the very least he can move back into the rotation if the Keuchel experiment does not work out. The bullpen is floundering again and while part of that has been Joe Girardi, the players need to perform better or get lost as soon as possible.
AP Photo/John Bazemore