A Return to Red October: Phillies Off-Season To-Do List

The MLB Postseason begins tonight and, for the sixth straight year, the Phillies will not be a part of it. For some Phillies fans, October baseball brings them back to a happier time– when the old cast of characters were perennial contenders. For others, it reminds them of the sad reality that this is a much different team now. While some can decide to live in the past, the rest of the fan base must look toward the future. What does this pivotal off-season have in store for the Phils?

Trading Tommy Joseph
The Phillies must decide if Tommy Joseph has a future on this team. Rhys Hoskins is now the team’s starting first baseman and Joseph lacks the versatility to play other positions. The most beneficial decision would probably be to trade Tommy Joseph to an AL team seeking 1B/DH help and acquiring whatever young, “lottery ticket”-type prospects they can get in return. Potential landing spots include the Royals (Eric Hosmer is a free agent) and the Rays (Lucas Duda and Logan Morrison are free agents).

Decide on Franco
Although Maikel Franco was once believed to be a surefire piece of the next Phillies contender, he has not developed as the team had hoped. In what was supposed to be a breakout year for him, Franco posted a .230/.280/.409 with his 24 home runs ranking in the middle of the pack among MLB third basemen. Although he lacks plate discipline, he is just 25 years old and still maturing as a hitter. Franco is also viewed as one of the better defensive third basemen in the National League. Trading him may not be a wise decision now, but the Phillies must decide if he is their long-term answer at the hot corner.

Bolster the Rotation
With plenty of injuries to the team’s starting pitchers, the team was forced to shuffle their rotation throughout this past season. The only two locks in next year’s rotation are Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff, both of whom have proven themselves at the big league level. Another would be Vincent Velasquez, but he cannot seem to stay healthy as injury concerns have followed him throughout his young career. Assuming Velasquez is healthy, that leaves two rotation spots up for grabs. The Phillies will most likely fill these spots with Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Jake Thompson, or Mark Leiter Jr. None of them are a sure thing, however, so the Phillies may take a look at some of the younger free agent arms such as Tyler Chatwood, Alex Cobb, or Lance Lynn.

Hiring a Manager
With Pete Mackanin moving to the front office, the Phillies have a vacancy in their manager spot. With an average age of 25.9, the Phillies had the youngest team in baseball last year. Given that, the Phillies might want to bring in a younger manager to head the coaching staff. David Ross is an ideal candidate. A recently retired catcher with an exuberant personality, Ross connects well with younger players and might be the right guy to get the most out of this youthful roster. A 2-time World Champion, Ross knows what it takes to win. As a catcher, he is used to managing the game and taking charge as the leader of a team.

Answering the important questions are another part of climb out of the cellar of the NL East. The Phillies have a lot of young talent and these next few years will be an exciting step toward the future. Maybe we’ll have another Red October sooner than later.

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