Despite surface-like predictions, the Phillies could just as easily win the National League East as finish fourth again, even though general manager Matt Klentak signed a two-slot hurler and a left-side bat with power for the five hole.
One year after:
Since every Philadelphia Phillies season has surprises, disappointments, injuries, and question marks before and during each campaign, no one can guarantee results before spring training. Yes, fans can be overly optimistic or downright pessimistic with or without logic. But forecasts are unpredictable!
"IN OTHER WORDS: “Perhaps the safest prediction we can make about the future is that it will surprise us.” – George Leonard"
For ’20, organizations have new players, lost top talent to other franchises, and/or have injured regulars before March 1. So, no club will automatically succeed or fail regardless of 2019’s standings and/or statistics. To me, though, no local has publicly backed up their ironclad prediction with one cent.
The Washington Nationals are now without their biggest offensive weapon from ’19, and they haven’t picked up a replacement for the heart of their order. Meanwhile, national publications foresee a three-peat in the NL East by the Atlanta Braves with the Nats again in the wild-card hunt.
The Nats will cope anew with more pitching after another slugger departed. Unlike last summer, however, they have signed setup man Will Harris to join the three relievers acquired in July. Basically, preventing runs is their plan to offset decreased run production, but in ’19 they inked a top free-agent starter, not an aging reliever.
The Fightins signed Zack Wheeler to form a one-two punch and left-handed-bat Didi Gregorius to offset a right-heavy lineup. Unfortunately, the fireman they had bid on without qualms went elsewhere. But, regardless, the Phils’ offer exceeded the CBT (competitive-balance threshold) by $4-7 million.
Because the arbitration expenses for their third and second basemen were in their third and fourth 162s respectively, Klentak couldn’t find another team to trade with. And other clubs didn’t want the cost either and only signed them at roughly half their arb estimate. Moreover, Philly demoted their suspended outfielder.
While the red pinstripes are currently at an estimated $203.93 million AAV (average annual value), they expect to acquire a piece or two and exceed the CBT by $17-20 million. As for Washington, they are under the $208 million AAV at $197.1 million AAV.