Postmortem: Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies won 87 games. That’s not the fewest ever for a pennant winner. However, it was only good for sixth best in the NL this year. That means that, until this year, they wouldn’t have made it to the playoffs at all (not counting the 2020 COVID outlier season). They also benefited from the first full season of the NL using the DH, as Bryce Harper would have missed most of the season with elbow and thumb injuries. Instead, his bat (and Kyle Schwarber’s) bat powered his team to the World Series, where they came up short versus the Astros.

They did face adversity—again Harper’s injuries—they slumped through the first two months of the season (not as badly as the 2019 WS champ Nationals did that year) and fired manager Joe Girardi over it. Rob Thomson took over, and after the All Star break the Phillies got hot. How much of that is Thomson as opposed to adding pitching at the deadline and ebbs and flows of a long season can be debated.

As for the offseason, the elephant in the room is Bryce Harper. He isn’t going anywhere, but he underwent Tommy John surgery this week on the elbow he injured in April. He will miss the first half of 2023, and isn’t likely to be anything other than a DH until late next season. That leaves a hole in the lineup that will have to be addressed. The team can still use pitching depth and improved defense. Despite the playoff run, they still have moves to make if they don’t want to continue to look up at the Braves and Mets in the regular season standings. Dave Dombrowski isn’t shy about spending money, so expect them to be active on the free agent market (along with the aforementioned Mets).

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