Although they officially signed catcher J.T. Realmuto to a five-year, $115.5 million contract on Friday, the Phillies still have a lot of work to do to challenge for the National League East crown.
In their first two seasons with Realmuto and Bryce Harper in the fold, the Phillies went 109-113
Although they officially signed catcher
In their first two seasons with Realmuto and
Sitting roughly $28 million under the first Competitive Balance Tax threshold ($210 million), according to Roster Resource, the Phillies have glaring holes at shortstop and in center field, and they could use at least one more reliever.
It’s not going to be easy, but here are some realistic moves Philadelphia could make to significantly improve its 2021 postseason hopes while remaining under the CBT line.
Philadelphia center fielders ranked 26th in MLB in OPS (.637) and tied for 22nd in Outs Above Average (+0) last season.
Adding a strong defender in center field would be especially valuable for the Phillies, who have
As a bonus, signing Bradley would keep him away from the rival Mets, who need a center fielder and are said to be eyeing the 30-year-old after missing out on
At the beginning of the offseason, MLB Trade Rumors predicted Bradley would get a two-year, $16 million deal, while FanGraphs saw him signing for two years and $18 million. If we go with the larger of those two deals, that’s a $9 million average annual value added to Philadelphia’s CBT figure.
Sign Jake McGee
After posting the worst bullpen ERA (7.06) in the Majors last season, the Phillies have added
With a long list of accomplished relievers remaining on the market, the Phillies may be able to snag McGee for $3 million or so on a one-year deal.
Trade for Trevor Story
While Bradley and McGee would be nice additions, this is the type of blockbuster move the Phillies need to make to be a serious contender in the NL East this season.
Story would become the second superstar shortstop to be traded this offseason, joining
Spencer Howard, the Phillies’ No. 1 prospect (MLB’s No. 42), may be off limits, but Philadelphia has another pitcher on MLB Pipeline’s newly released Top 100 prospects list — right-hander Mick Abel, the 15th overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft. Shortstop Bryson Stott, meanwhile, was part of the Top 100 in 2020.
To convince the Phillies to part with both prospects, the Rockies agree to take back
The full (hypothetical) trade:
Phillies get: SS Trevor Story
Rockies get: RHP Mick Abel (MLB’s No. 76 prospect), INF Jean Segura, SS Bryson Stott, $10 million
Would Colorado do it? With the Rockies reportedly close to a trade that would send third baseman
Using estimated contract figures for Bradley (two years, $18 million) and McGee (one year, $3 million), these three moves would add $20.65 million to the Phillies’ 2021 payroll and $16.75 million to their CBT figure, putting them between $11 million and $11.5 million below the $210 million tax line.
The Phillies would have less than $120 million in guaranteed money on the books in 2022, meanwhile, leaving plenty of room to re-sign Story.
Philadelphia’s ability to complete this plan is heavily contingent on the team moving Segura, which could prove difficult. The veteran infielder will soon be 31, and he hasn’t posted an OPS over .800 since 2016. Segura also has a full no-trade clause, and he may be unwilling to waive it to go to a rebuilding team such as Colorado.
Even if the Phillies can pull that off, trading two of their top three prospects for a player with one year of team control remaining is a risky move for a club that already has one of the weaker farm systems in the game. But it’s a risk they need to take. The club isn’t good enough to contend for a title as is, and it isn’t going to rebuild with Harper, Realmuto and