Earlier, Kyle called me a “poor guy” in his intro post because I’ll be primarily writing about the Phillies–a team that appears headed for its first 100-loss season in 56 years. Still, I don’t see it that way. This actually feels like the perfect time to jump in to write about this team.
Now, you could probably accuse me of seeming overly optimistic after they lost two games to the Atlanta Braves yesterday in a double-header that could not be described in any other way than painful to watch for what looked like the 379 people who, for whatever reason, were in attendance.
The Phillies were outscored 14-3, outhit 28-13, and starting pitcher Jerad Eickhoff’s season is probably over after he exited Game 1 because he couldn’t feel the baseball in his right hand. That’s probably not going to end well.
Still, hear me out.
The reality is that there are going to be plenty of more games in September that look like the ones played yesterday and like the one from this past Saturday night when the Cubs dropped 17 runs on a depleted and overmatched pitching staff.
Here’s the good news–the harsh reality of the present doesn’t change the fact that the Phillies are going to be relevant (and maybe even good) again. And soon.
The current economic state of the organization has it in an enviable position. Pair the astronomical sum paid by CSN for broadcasting rights a few years back with the team’s lack of future financial obligations and it’s easy to see why the Phillies will be able do quite literally anything they want over the next of couple years.
According to Spotrac.com, the average guaranteed financial commitment for 2018 MLB payrolls currently stands at $89,101,527. The Phillies are on the books for $6,350,000. Obviously, this number will rise throughout the winter as the team constructs its roster, but the Phillies are only financially bound to Odubel Herrera beyond this season.
This is good because they’ll need quite a bit of that financial flexibility to throw dollars at a pitching staff that is in dire need of multiple upgrades.
The other thing they got going for them is that for the first time in a while, quite a few of their position players aren’t, you know, awful.
It’s not impossible to see any of the following guys on a playoff contender here, or used as assets to net legit talent as the rebuild enters its next phase: Aaron Altherr, Odubel Herrera, Nick Williams, Cesar Hernandez, Jorge Alfaro, J.P. Crawford, Scott Kingery, Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis, and maybe, possibly, Maikel Franco (but probably not).
Oh, yeah. And then there’s Rhys Hoskins.
Last Wednesday he homered in the second inning against the Marlins. I got a text message from my buddy, who’s a casual fan, that said, “Holy shit. This guy is unreal! I sat in my car to listen to that. I didn’t want to miss it.”
It wouldn’t have been notable for me to send that text. I live a hollow and meaningless life and use sports to fill my gaping emotional voids and mask my financial problems. Let’s see here. Looks like I have $8.18 in my checking account…but Scott Kingery had 3 hits at Lehigh last night. So there’s that. But I digress.
When was the last time a casual fan in this city felt a second inning at-bat was a can’t miss moment ON THE RADIO? Or when was the last time this fan base collectively tuned in to see what a guy would do next? That’s what we’re getting with Rhys Hoskins right now, and it’s been fun for the first time in a long time.
If you can look past the product playing out the string in front of us right now, it’s not hard to see that the Sixers aren’t the only team in this city about to return to relevance. And that’s good because I need it.