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The Phillies Look to Make a Push to Postseason

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The Phillies Look to Make a Push to Postseason

Jared Roberts, Centurion Staff

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What an exciting time it is to be a Philadelphia Phillies fan right now. Many people around the internet are projecting the team to be nothing shy of perfection.
After coming off an interesting 2018 season, the Phillies looked to improve themselves. They finished the year with an 80-82 record, and there were many issues going into the offseason that they needed to address.
Such as their defense, their fielding percentage was .979 which was second to last in the National League. They also committed 123 errors which was also second to last.
Their offense was not the greatest either. They finished dead last in hits and second to last in batting average. With all that said, things needed to change, and General Manager Matt Klentak knew this.
The team made it very clear that they are in a win-now scenario. Rising stars like Rhys Hoskins and Aaron Nola made a huge impact for the team and now they need to add.
Owner John Middleton was quoted at the beginning of the offseason saying,
“We’re going into this expecting to spend money and maybe even be a little bit stupid about it.”
Philadelphia never let him forget those words he said and to this day, he was a man of his word. The first major deal was on Dec. 3, when the Phillies and the Seattle Mariners made a major trade.
The Phillies sent over Shortstop JP Crawford and First Basemen Carlos Santana for Shortstop Jean Segura, and Relief Pitchers Juan Nicasio and James Pazos. This deal freed up first base for the Phillies and Rhys Hoskins was happy to return to his natural position rather than playing the outfield.
This deal added depth to the lineup with Segura. Segura is a two time All-Star and a career .287 hitter. He also has an amazing glove over at shortstop, a position that was like a revolving door for the Phillies last year. Nicasio and Pazos adds two consistent arms out of the bullpen.
The next move was a few days later Dec. 6, the Phillies traded relief pitcher Luis Garica to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for relief pitcher Jose Alvarez. This isn’t a groundbreaking deal however, Alvarez posted a 2.71 Earned Run Average compared to Garcia’s 6.07. A much-needed upgrade.
Now that Hoskins has moved from playing Left Field to playing First Base, there was an opening out there. Home grown guys like Nick Williams and Aaron Altherr seemed to fit the bill however, Williams was set to man right field and Altherr had an awful 2018 campaign batting only .181 with 8 homeruns and 38 runs batted in.
The Phillies need to make a move and they did that very thing on Dec. 12, signing veteran outfielder Andrew McCutchen to a 3-year, $50 million contract. McCutchen previously played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees. Throughout his career, has always been a thorn in the Phillies side. He is an All-Star, Gold Glove winning outfielder with a National League MVP under his belt as well.
This move was a much-needed upgrade in the outfield and when McCutchen was asked about why he signed in Philadelphia, he smiled and simply said, “Did you see how much they offered me?!”
Another thing that plagued the Phillies in their previous season was their bullpen. Any time they would go to their bullpen, you would never know if the guys were going to be lights out or give up the lead. So, they decided to bolster the pen and on Jan. 3, they signed David Robertson to a 2-year $24 million contract.
Robertson adds some much-needed consistency to the backend of the bullpen. His career earned run average is 2.88 and he has been in the league since 2008. Often regarded as one of the most underrated pitchers in the league, Robertson is someone who will put up consistent numbers no matter what team he is playing on.
After this deal was done, there seemed to be this long wait for them to make another move. Talks of trading for another pitchers were looming in the air but with the way social media is, it was just rumor after rumor until something did happen.
Feb. 7, the Phillies began having interest in Marlins star catcher JT Realmuto however, everyone in the league had interest in Realmuto. The only issue the Marlins had was their asking price for him, they wanted a heavy package for their star catcher and no team was really biting anymore, until the Phillies did.
That same day, the Phillies traded catcher Jorge Alfaro, top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez and pitcher Will Stewart for Realmuto. This was a huge move for the Phillies because of their lack of offense coming from the catcher position.
Realmuto has a career batting average of .279 with 59 homeruns and 243 runs batted in, from the catcher position, that is something that is unheard-of. Another move that bolstered this lineup and bolstered the defense. But the question remained: what about that stupid money?
All throughout the offseason, the Phillies were tied to star outfielder Bryce Harper. For weeks, they had meeting after meeting regarding Harper playing in Philly however, nothing really came to a head until the Los Angeles Dodgers came into the mix.
The Dodgers were apparently very aggressive going after Harper however, there was one thing that kept Harper from going there and it was the amount of time he would be spending in LA. Apparently, the Dodgers were only willing to sign Harper for 4-5 years at max and that is something Harper did not want. So, what did the Phillies do?
On Feb. 28, the Phillies signed Harper to a 13-year $330 million contract. This was the sort of money Middleton promised he would spend. Phillies fans everywhere went crazy at the idea that the guy who has beaten up the Phillies for 7 years is now on our side.
Harper was brought into the major leagues at the age of 19 and did not disappoint anyone by any means. He is 6 time All-Star, he won the 2012 Rookie of the Year award, 2015 National League MVP as well as winning the 2015 Silver Slugger Award. This was an amazing signing and much needed boost for the Phillies.
With all of these pieces added to an already great looking team, the question was, how far will this team go?
Anthony DiRenzo, 23, communications major from Quakertown said “Clearly, owner John Middleton wants to win now and made it apparent to the fans. Now, they will be a serious World Series contender and will be able to recruit different players to make that postseason push.”
At the end of the day, the Phillies are one of the youngest teams in the league and that doesn’t always translate to winning. Inexperience is going to be a big factor in how far the Phillies will go.
Bucks student, Steve Brady said, “I love the aggressive pushes the Phillies have made this offseason. Between McCutchen, Realmuto and topping it off with Harper as well as some other pieces. I believe they are going to make the playoffs but I think that our lack of experience as well as an overall young team won’t have the experience to win the World Series but, crazier things have happened.”
However, not all students are pulled into the sports world.
Frank Klingenberg, 19, journalism major from Warminster, “I have no idea about any of that. The only thing that I remember from the Phillies is the Phillie Phanatic.”
“He kind of looks like a distant relative of the Cookie Monster,” he said
Regardless, it is an exciting time to be a Philadelphia sports fan. The Phillies have a big target on their back with not only the fans but also the rest of baseball. It is going to be a season to remember whether they triumph or fall flat on their faces.

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The Phillies Look to Make a Push to Postseason