With Manny Machado Heading to Los Angeles, Do the Phillies Now Have a Perception Problem?

PHOTO CREDIT: BILL STREICHER-USA TODAY SPORTS

I spent the past month telling myself that it wasn’t worth thinking about the possibility of the Phillies adding Manny Machado ahead of this winter’s free agency period.

“Nope. No way they do that,” I assured myself, all cavalier and shit.

I reasoned that there was simply no way a front office that has spent recent seasons arduously rebuilding a bankrupted minor league talent pool would hastily send a package of several top-tier prospects down I-95 just because the big league team was a bit ahead of schedule. They certainly weren’t going to do it when it’s reasonable to think they will be a favorite to land him in a few months. I figured they would make a less-celebrated trade to sure up the bullpen and find an alternative way to improve a streaky, and often impotent lineup. I knew better. But then this happened:

And this:

And that’s all it took. Suddenly, the prior caution I had exercised in avoiding Machado Madness was gone. I was all in. You know, #BeBold and all of that happy horeshit. The expensive price tag for a short-term rental didn’t matter, nor did the reality that the Phillies were likely more than just the addition of Machado away from truly contending with a bullpen and bench that are each one piece short. It was easy to be seduced by the idea of adding a 26-year-old superstar with 24 homers and a .963 OPS to a first-place team in desperate need of a difference-making bat. I lost control in the heat of the moment. Did it make sense? Probably not. Was it dangerous and maybe a little bit reckless? For sure. But damn–it would have been fun.

We now know that Machado is headed west. That Magic Johnson, man. We presume that Matt Klentak and Andy MacPhail weren’t willing to step up beyond their reported offer headlined by highly-touted pitching prospect Adonis Medina, and we were thus left with this Kodak moment between two soon-to-be teammates:

So now what?

Fair or not, the Phillies are on the verge of developing a perception problem with several fans in the wake of missing out on Machado. While there are many fans who understand the Phillies’ reluctance to land Machado at all costs, there are also many who feel the team is all bark and no bite when it comes to doing what it takes to win big. I absolutely know many of you are about to roll your eyes four seconds from now, but it matters when one of the city’s most prominent sports media personalities tweets this:

I don’t know if Cataldi’s assertion that the Phillies are not hungry enough is fair. In fact, it’s probably not. I would argue that they didn’t make a panic move and overpay was the right decision. Still, the pressure is about to mount for a front office that has roughly two weeks to prove that it has the willingness, creativity, and wherewithal to execute a “Plan B” that helps propel this team into the postseason.

Yes, the postseason.

The air went out of the balloon with the Machado news, and I know whatever they do now will likely feel cut-rate, but there is still a reasonable path to success moving forward. A left-handed reliever and a bench piece, while desperately needed, won’t be enough. The Phillies must add a difference-making bat to jolt what has been a stagnant lineup if they truly want to get serious about October baseball. Whether that jolt comes in the form of Mike Moustakas, Eduardo Escobar, or whoever else–there will be plenty of time to discuss the particulars in the coming days–Gabe Kapler and this team have earned the right to get help from the front office and ownership. A failure to provide it sends the wrong message, not only to the players in the clubhouse, but also to this city’s skeptical baseball fans that have been reluctant to fill the seats this summer. Missing out on Machado is perfectly fine, but now it is time to get to work.

Your move, Matt Klentak.

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24 Responses

  1. They do have a Perception Problem. It started with Pat Gillick’s Five Year plan basically telling the fans we will be good in five years so dont waste your time on us and it condition everyone who follows the phillies to have the same perception about Matt Klentak and what he’s doing. Plus i think Matt Klentak is scared to pull the trigger on any trade. He doesnt have the same instincts like Gillick has. If your manager comes out and say we are looking under every rock that tells me him and Matt Klentak arent on the same page or Matt Klentak and Jon Middleton arernt on the same page.

    1. This. Fuck Tan Mom and this bunch of no-hit portable chickens. Training camp starts in a week.

  2. Hope the Phils’ brass enjoys a half empty stadium for their (maybe) 1st place team for the rest of the season. No one is coming out to see an added bullpen piece or bench player.

    1. How does Middleton get away with this perception that he is this Great Win -At-Any-Cost Owner ? The Phils have arguably the best HR Park in MLB and the Phils for whatever reason haven’t had a legit MLB outfielder since ,Pat Burrell,Werth years.

      They play in a bandbox yet refuse to obtain a player with any power. JD Martinez had power, Manny Machado has legit power and this scared kid gm and has-been/never- was president are afraid to spend any money. They play in the 4th largest market in MLB, largest with just 1 team but act like they are managing SD or Tampa.

  3. “They are not hungry enough” LMAO, what the fuck does that even mean? It’s right out of the Skip Bayless book of bullshit cliche’s like “the other team just wanted it more”

  4. They didn’t get him because their prospects aren’t that good. Look at their stats this year. Not one makes you believe he will be a star.

  5. Allow me to smack you in the face. The Phillies were not winning the World Series even if they got Machado.

  6. Phils are a 2nd class organization. Real franchises get the deal done & don’t worry about cashing out a minor league lottery ticket. Even a flat out half ret@rded magic Johnson realizes this

  7. Phils are a 2nd class organization. Real franchises get the deal done & don’t worry about cashing out a minor league lottery ticket. Even a flat out half ret@rded magic Johnson realizes this . Guy has aids and his fucking philly every chance he gets (unprotected)

  8. Quit feeding into this stupid notion that this team needs to trade away the farm for a two-month rental. They don’t, they shouldn’t, and whatever player they get won’t be enough to put them over the top this year. Be patient; the offseason is coming.

  9. The Phillies , Flyers , Sixers all lost this off-season. Hopefully the Eagles can finalize the deal for Early Thomas and get back to the Super Bowl.

  10. Said it weeks ago, no one wants to live in Philadelphia or South NJ. Nothing to do with the organizations. (I know they don’t have a choice if they’re traded)

  11. It’s all about the money in free agency. Just outbid everyone else in the off season and he will come here. Then you saved those prospects for other pieces that can hopefully put this team over the top in trades.

    Also, why are you wasting space quoting Cataldi?

  12. Phillies have had arguably the worst team in MLB the past 5-6years yet led MLB in Net Revenue the past couple years. The Phils don’t have a Perception Problem. They Have a Reality Problem. They have an owner who speaks with forked tongue who imo hired a couple mopish duds(macphail +klentak) to get the books turned around not necessarily get the team turned around.

    If you took Aaron Nola and Seranthony Dominquez off this team it would be a last place team in possibly the worst division in mlb.

    1. You’re Dope, a Nitwit, and a Moron. Money is No Object with Phils owners John Middleton. All he wants to do is Win.

  13. Eskin. If Winning is the only thing that matters to John Middleton why have the Phillies gotten worse for 6 years in a row? Why has the roster been a mish mosh of failed mediocre prospects and cheap washed up journeyman for the past 6 years?

    Until this year Why have the Phillies taken themselves out of the free agent market the previous 3-4 years? Middleton tried to emulate The Process but The Process doesn’t work in baseball like it can in the NBA where 1 or 2 hgh draft picks can change your franchise around overnight.

  14. Love how Middleton leaks that he wants to win & spend $$. We all know he’s a cheap fuck that won’t bring in any top talent

  15. No ownership/management group in professional sports has mismanaged a potential goldmine quite like the Phils. says:

    The Phils should be in the same stratosphere with the NYY,Red Sox,Cubs,Dodgers yet they find themselves 22nd in attendance after finishing a combined 145 games out the past 6 years. Unbelievable.

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