Constructing 2019’s Phillies for April

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Having a Cy Young Award finalist to head the rotation, the Phillies have their ace with Nola. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images.

For the Phillies, acquiring stars and fitting the pieces together will be front and center over the winter, but firstly general manager Matt Klentak must finalize his 40-man roster.


Building a contender:       

While the Philadelphia Phillies faithful voice their wishes, Klentak has the responsibility of improving the offense and defense despite the obstacles. Of course, his manager can only make recommendations, but the skipper’s approach will depend on the GM’s success.


“The manager of a team is like a stagecoach; he can’t move unless he has the horses.” – Pete “Charlie Hustle” Rose

For those in the cheap seats, the job ahead of Klentak appears easier from a distance, but the front office knows it’s more than making a big splash with a free-agent signing. Basically, locals eye the situation in black and white, but the grey area dwarfs that: The GM operates there.

By Nov. 20, Klentak must submit his 40-man roster to Major League Baseball. He is deciding the prospects to protect from the Rule 5 Draft, and four minor leaguers including right-hander Adonis Medina –the pipeline’s third-ranked player– may replace someone currently there.

As for the active 25, the Phils will pare down the full roster after they complete their offseason changes and spring training. Some moves are obvious: The red pinstripes won’t carry two starting third baseman and two regular first sackers. On the other hand, they won’t turn a strength into a weakness either.

Despite working counts and concentrating on launch angles, the hometown nine scored 677 runs for 11th in the National League and hit 186 home runs for NL’s sixth place. They were third with 582 walks and dead last in the Senior Circuit with a .234 average. Translation: Changes are coming.

Regarding their glove work –or lack thereof– the Phillies committed 123 errors and had a .979 fielding percentage for 14th in both NL categories. In the end, the St. Louis Cardinals did not relinquish last place. However, offense and defense are not completely independent of each other.

On the mound, Klentak doesn’t have a left-hander for the rotation, but a handful are free agents. Additionally, the bullpen needs a more frequent ninth-inning option: a hurler to take the ball 75 percent of the time. Some matchups will still be necessary.

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