Grading Dombrowski, Fuld and the Philadelphia Phillies front office at the season’s midway point

Mar 23, 2018; Bradenton, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies Sam Fuld (5) against the Pittsburgh Pirates at LECOM Park. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 23, 2018; Bradenton, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies Sam Fuld (5) against the Pittsburgh Pirates at LECOM Park. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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The team of president Dave Dombrowski and general manager Sam Fuld is in its third season overseeing operations of the Philadelphia Phillies. Last season, Dombrowski and Fuld saw their club barely qualify for postseason play, then get hot and make a run all the way to the National League championship.

At this season’s midway point, the Phillies are 43-38, which by coincidence happens to be exactly their record at last season’s halfway point. They’d settle for the same playout … with the possible exception of a fresh start come World Series time.

The Phillies have an interesting talent nucleus, headlined by Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, J.T. Realmuto, and Aaron Nola. So it’s a fair question to ask how much Dombrowski and Fuld have done since the conclusion of the 2022 season in an effort to improve the product in Philadelphia.

Grading the Philadelphia Phillies at the midway point of the 2023 season

What follows is a mid-term assessment of the Phillies’ personnel decisions since the conclusion of the 2022 World Series with a particular focus on the extent to which those decisions have helped or hindered the team’s performance.

The standard of measurement is Wins Above Average (WAA), a variant of Wins Above Replacement (WAR). For this purpose, WAA is preferable because unlike WAR, it is zero-based. That means the sum of all the decisions made by Dombrowski and Fuld impacting the 2023 team gives at least a good estimate of the number of games those moves have improved – or worsened – the team’s status this season.

A team’s front office impacts that team’s standing in five ways. Those five are:

1.       By the impact of players it acquires from other teams via trade, purchase or waiver claim.

2.       By the impact of players it surrenders to other teams in those same transactions.

3.       By the impact of players it signs at free agency or extends.

4.       By the impact of players it loses to free agency or releases.

5.       By the impact of players it promotes from its own farm system.

Here’s how the Phillies front office stacks up by those five yardsticks.