After a sizzling start to their offseason, things have gone quiet on the Phillies’ front.
In December, the Phillies quickly signed Zack Wheeler to add a plus arm to their starting rotation before agreeing to terms with shortstop Didi Gregorius to re-tool the infield.
It was two of their larger needs following a 2019 season that saw the starting staff struggle behind a lagging Aaron Nola and production from the infield experience a dip as well.
The latter led to the release of Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco, leading to the Gregorius signing. The former Yankee will take over at shortstop while Jean Segura shifts to second.
It still leads a sizable void at third base after the departure of Franco.
As it stands, Scott Kingery will be the Opening Day third baseman, though there have been rumblings of a blockbuster trade for the likes of Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant or the possible promotion of top prospect Alec Bohm.
Bohm is headlining a list of 15 non-roster players that received an invitation to the Phillies’ MLB spring training next month.
But with the luxury tax threshold firmly in mind, the lack of activity on the market from Klentak has allowed concern to creep into the peripherals of every Phillies fan. Especially when considering another depth starter and legitimate relief help are still massive needs for the organization.
Since the Wheeler and Gregorius signings, the Phillies have seen the rest of the National League East considerably improve while pilfering the market for potential Philadelphia upgrades.
The Washington Nationals signed reliever Will Harris before bringing on veteran middle infielder Starlin Castro and power-hitting first baseman Eric Thames.
The Atlanta Braves are putting the finishing touches on a massive offseason that yielded veteran lefty starter Cole Hamels, reliever Will Smith, and catcher Travis d’Arnaud. Now they (and the Phillies) wait to see if third baseman Josh Donaldson chooses to re-sign with Atlanta or go elsewhere — maybe even Philadelphia.
In New York, the Mets added a pair of veteran starters to cushion the blow of losing Wheeler to the Phillies. While Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha have struggled in recent years, the Mets were still proactive enough to bring in multiple options for their void at the No. 5 spot in the rotation.
The end of December also saw the Mets come away with former Yankees All-Star reliever Dellin Betances on a team-friendly, one-year deal that would have been perfect for the Phillies.
Those are the three teams that finished above the Phillies in the NL East standings last year. Given the strength of the division, the Phillies will have to flirt with at least 90 wins to make a legitimate run at the playoffs — and the additions of Wheeler and Gregorius do not ensure a 10-win increase from an 81-win 2019.
Unless the organization believes that a resurgent Rhys Hoskins, Andrew McCutchen, and Jake Arrieta will spearhead a turnaround, the Phillies can’t be done making moves this winter.