|Photo by Richard Wilkins Jr.|
That's a lot of news for a team who's season effectively ended in July, at least at this time of year. It leads one to think that the Phillies know they don't have time to "let the market sort itself out" this year, not after a second straight 73-89 season. They are active, and active quickly.
So will this be the trend all off-season? I think so. Here's a few early predictions for the off-season that will be:
- Will Tomas be a Phillie? Well, I believe so, and I don't believe that the Phillies will let money get in the way. I don't think the Phillies feel their outfield is good enough right now. If Tomas is not a Phillie, that means someone else is, and I don't think the Phillies will be shy about getting a mid-order outfielder to bolster the offense.
- The Phillies enter the off-season with a rotation that has Hamels, Lee, Buchanan, Williams, maybe Burnett, Morgan, Pettibone, and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. Will they settle on making a five man rotation out of that? My guess is no. While I am not seeing them signing a Lester/Scherzer/Shields type of free agent right now, I do think they either get a solid mid-rotation free agent, or sign an international free agent (or posted from Japan) arm. Past Aaron Nola, the Phillies have nothing in the system to feel super confident in today. There are too many health risks and low upside arms in that group.
- Will the Phillies move Ryan Howard or another veteran? I think it's a lock. I prefer it to be Howard, but I'm not opposed to moving Utley, Byrd, or Ruiz if it frees up money and roster space to give other guys a look. I'd try to keep Jimmy Rollins around for this season and see how J.P. Crawford does with the eventual jump to Reading and maybe beyond.