Who will Phillies target in free agency?
By Larry Shenk
Media sources report the Phillies have begun interviewing for a new president, or general manager, or both. Or, no one as the possibility exists that there will be no new hires for now.
The Phillies, like most teams, have needs some of which are of extreme significance. The Phillies, like all teams, have major budget woes because of the unchartered waters of the fan-less pandemic season. Free agency waters will be choppier than ever. That, plus the uncertainty of what the 2021 season will be like. Thus, the pace of free agency will likely be slower than a turtle relay team.
Let’s assume the Phillies have a budget of $50 million to spend on free agents. We turn to MajorLeagueBaseballTradeRumors.com (MLBTR) for projections. Earlier this month, the staff produced its 15th annual Top 50 Free Agents list…who will sign with whom and how much.
MLBTF projects the Mets will sign J.T. Realmuto, a 5-year, $125 million contract. A bitter pill for Phillies faithful? Yes. But one that can be debated. Do you spend $25 million (half of your budget) on one player? Or, do you use that dough on multiple needs?
So, who does MLBTR project as new Phillies?
**Ace closer Liam Hendriks (A’s), 3 years, $30MM (10 per year) . . . We all remember the 2020 bullpen woes. Changes are urgently needed.
Some to finish games heads the shopping list.
**Catcher James McCann (White Sox), 2 years $20MM (10 per) . . . Solid defense, power bat. Last four teams standing in 2020 all featured a defensive-solid catcher.
**RH Garrett Richards (Padres), 2 years, $16 (8 per) . . . Experienced starter with plus fastball.
So, for $28MM three key needs are filled which leaves room for more needs. Perhaps additional relievers such as Jose Alvarez, Shawn Greene, Trevor May; infield depth in Freddy Galvis, Brad Miller and outfield depth in Kevin Pillar, Brett Gardner. Just saying.
But, hold on!
In two weeks (December 2) teams face a deadline for tendering contracts for 2021. With so many clubs having lost so much money many more players are expected to become free agents. The choppy waters are expected to turn into a large lake of free agents. Canoes and checkbooks needed.