Phillies: 2020’s playoff-bound ifs (a long version)

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 30: Aaron Nola #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies reacts after hitting a double in the bottom of the third inning against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on August 30, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 30: Aaron Nola #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies reacts after hitting a double in the bottom of the third inning against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on August 30, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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In January, the Phillies will re-up Realmuto. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images. /

Up the middle:

With Segura currently practicing at second base, Kingery will probably be the Phillies third baseman until Bohm is ready. And Kingery could then return to center field, where he is a solid defender. So, Haseley must make Klentak’s decision difficult. As for Kingery, he will probably have a breakout campaign.

Although contract-extension talk has been quiet, the Phils and J.T. Realmuto will probably finalize it in January. Importantly, his new pact won’t begin until 2021 and won’t affect 2020’s AAV (average annual value). Plus the timing isn’t a concern because November and December are for roster construction: This is January’s business.

Offensively, Girardi has Harper (3) and Gregorius (5) to balance Hoskins (4) and Realmuto (2 or 6). Plus opposing skippers will have the three-batter rule, but the risk will be to face two and pitch around the opposite-side hitter. So, there will be opportunities aplenty for a backfired strategy during those last three frames.

Barring a trade, the rotation is Nola, Wheeler, Eflin, Arrieta and Velasquez or the spring-training winner for the five slot. Translation: Four aces were a once-in-a-lifetime advantage. No, the 1980 and 2008 champions didn’t have that or the franchise record of 102 victories.

So far, Klentak has picked up Wheeler to slot behind Nola and Gregorius to balance the left-right alignment powerwise. And the next order of business is Betances to secure hard-earned triumphs for Girardi. Well, it might not be 2011’s Goliath, but it will be more fun than last year except for the doubting Thomases.

While all Klentak’s ifs won’t pan out, enough have to for the execs to pull the trigger and exceed the competitive-balance threshold after the All-Star break. So, why would they pay a $3 million penalty for one season, and what one word describes that urgency to win most? Impatient!