In 2016, the Phillies must continue to improve a lackluster roster. In that vein, Philadelphia’s new President of Baseball Operations, Andy MacPhail, and General Manager Matt Klentak have already made some impactful off-season moves. In order of importance, here are the five most significant:
1. Trading Ken Giles
When Klentak took the helm in Philadelphia, the 35-year-old immediately, the youngest GM in team history, made a commitment to adding pitching depth to the organization at every level.
And, while the decision to trade Giles, who tallied 15 saves and a 1.80 ERA, was not a necessity, it allowed Klentak to turn a pitcher who throws 60 innings a year into five young pitchers.
Chief among them is Vincent Velasquez, who could immediately join Aaron Nola in the rotation at the start of 2016 along with Mark Appel, who is a former first overall pick. Appel is also Philadelphia’s second best prospect, according to MLB.com.
2. Claiming Peter Bourjos Off Waivers
Under Macphail and Klentak, the Phillies have already shown they are prepared to attempt several reclamation projects.
Speedy Peter Bourjos, who lost playing time to Mike Trout in Anaheim and once more to a host of outfielders in St. Louis, has a chance to make an impact in Philadelphia with more regular playing time.
The 28 year-old is an elite defensive centerfielder and serves as a legitimate speed threat in the Phillies’ lineup.
3. Acquiring Jeremy Hellickson
Hellickson’s best years may be behind him, but he could very well end up being the crown jewel of Klentak’s affinity for bounce-back candidates.
While the former Rookie of the Year has struggled over his last three seasons, he is just 28, and as recently as 2011, posted a 2.95 ERA, while being worth 3.5 wins above replacement.
If Hellickson can find his past form, he could represent one of Klentak’s best moves.
4. Rule 5 pick Tyler Goeddel
Philadelphia has had success drafting talented outfielders such as Shane Victorino in the Rule 5 Draft.
They may have found another in 2015.
Goeddel, who hit .279, with 12 homers and 72 RBI in 123 games at Double-A Montgomery last year, but was not protected on the Ray’s 40-man roster, could end up being another Rule 5 steal.
5. Signing Andrew Bailey and Edward Mujica
One advantage of the Phillies’ current standing as bottom dwellers is that they can – and must -- take risks in order to find value.
Bailey and Mujica certainly fit that mold.
Bailey is another former Rookie of the Year who has had a career beset by injuries. Mujica, meanwhile, broke out later in his career when he saved 37 games for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013.
Moves like these may not fully appease a restless fan base, hungry once more for a winning team. But, the revitalized brain trust in Philadelphia has placed their bet on young talent and finding value in veterans, and Phillies fans should be eager for a bright future as a result.