Philadelphia Phillies: 2017 season review and offseason preview

Hernandez has the most value of any available Phillie. Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images.
Hernandez has the most value of any available Phillie. Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images. /
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What went right, what went wrong, and what are the top priorities for the Philadelphia Phillies this offseason?

The last great Phillies team was the 2011 squad that won 102 games but lost in the division series. This was the end of a five-year stretch during which the Phillies won the NL East every year and made the World Series twice, winning the 2008 Fall Classic against the Tampa Bay Rays. That team had a big payroll that included eight players making ten million or more per year.

Times have changed since then. The Phillies were .500 in 2012, then slipped to 73 wins in 2013 and 2014. They bottomed out with a 63-99 season in 2015. That team had five players making $13 million or more, including three guys making nearly $75 million among them (Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, and Ryan Howard). You could say it took a while for the Phillies to fully embrace a rebuild.

The 2016 team seemed to make progress with a 71-win season, but they took a step back this year with a 66-win season and another last place finish in the NL East. That makes five straight losing seasons. It would be easy for a Phillies fan to question the rebuilding process at this point after some young players regressed in 2017. On the other hand, an optimist could look at the team’s 17-13 finish and the hitting of Rhys Hoskins and Nick Williams down the stretch and be excited about the future.

The big contracts are gone now. Jeremy Hellickson made $17.2 million last year and was traded to the Orioles in July. Howie Kendrick and his $10 million contract were traded to the Nationals the same day. Clay Buchholz ($13.5 million) is a free agent. The current roster doesn’t have anyone making that kind of money.

As the rebuild continues, let’s take a look at what went right, what went wrong, and the team’s top offseason priorities.