The Philadelphia Phillies weren’t that far from the playoffs, but are a mediocre team as their 82-80 record suggests.
However, they need several improvements across the diamond.
These players can help.
3. Trevor Story
The Phillies need a good shortstop: they just can’t keep fielding poor defenders all around the infield.
Making matters worse, Didi Gregorius had a lousy offensive season (68 wRC+) and is an awful defender at shortstop.
The wRC+ stat is an offensive metric that tells us, analyzing a series of important factors, whether a hitter is above or below-average at the plate, with 100 being average.
Gregorius has been a liability, so Trevor Story should come in handy.
He is young (he’ll be 29 on Opening Day 2022), talented (.272/.340/.523 career hitter with a 112 wRC+) and a solid fielder at short.
He is everything the team needs: a solid fielder and another star performer to add to Harper and Realmuto.
Story makes perfect sense for the Phillies.
Trevor Story to the Phillies just feels right
— K • #NiangGang (@rkGaudy) October 24, 2021
2. Corey Knebel
The Phillies bullpen has been a mess for years, and the 2021 campaign was no exception even though they made an effort to improve last offseason and before the trade deadline.
I think the No. 1 thing the @Phillies need to focus on during this offseason is rebuilding and fixing the bullpen. I think the bullpen is the most important issue right now.
— Tommy Benson (@TommyBenson74) November 9, 2021
They never seemed to find a reliable solution for the late innings, despite bringing Ian Kennedy via trade.
To make matters worse, they are losing several bullpen arms to free agency.
Of course, they won’t bring seven stars just to fill out the bullpen, but Philadelphia needs, at least, two relief aces.
Corey Knebel, formerly of the Los Angeles Dodgers, can be one of them.
Knebel has a great track record of missing bats at the highest of levels and had a very good 2021, with a 2.45 ERA in 25.2 innings.
He also struck out 10.52 hitters per nine innings, and the number went up to 17.47 in the playoffs.
He is a proven arm that can help fix the Phillies’ bullpen woes.
1. Starling Marte
The Phillies haven’t had a solid, reliable center fielder in quite a while.
They probably couldn’t trade for Starling Marte when he was made available by the Miami Marlins, but now that he is free to sign with anyone, they could make a run at him.
Marte had a solid season between the Marlins and the Oakland A’s, with a .308/.381/.456 line, 12 home runs, and 47 stolen bases while playing good defense.
The Phillies may want to tread carefully when it comes to the length of the potential commitment, as Marte is already 33.
But he is athletic and is a good bet to remain productive for at least two or three more years.
He is definitely someone the Phillies should be seriously considering to help fill one of their voids in the outfield.
His 5.4 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in 2021 would have ranked him second behind Harper in Philadelphia.