If nothing else, they’ve spent to win. At a time when budgets are shrinking all across baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies have opened their wallet, spending more on free agents this offseason than every team but the Toronto Blue Jays.
According to NBC Sports Philadelphia, the Phillies have spent a total of $152.5 million this offseason in contracts to catcher J.T. Realmuto, shortstop Didi Gregorius and pitchers Archie Bradley and Matt Moore.
It’s a hefty sum that sends a strong message about the team’s desire to contend this season.
Will it be enough in what figures to be a talented NL East Division?
The answers should start to arrive in April, when the 2021 season begins with a home opener against the Atlanta Braves. Before that happens, let’s get you up to speed on all the Phillies offseason moves and their futures odds at the best Pennsylvania sportsbooks.
Phillies 15th in World Series futures at FanDuel
Even after a productive offseason, the Philadelphia Phillies are barely inside the top half of Major League Baseball teams in World Series odds.
FanDuel Sportsbook has the Phillies 15th with a price of +3300, well behind the favored Los Angeles Dodgers (+450).
In just National League futures, Philadelphia is eighth. The teams in front of them are as follows:
- Dodgers: +220
- Padres: +350
- Braves: +400
- Mets: +550
- Cardinals: +1200
- Reds: +1600
- Nationals: +1700
- Phillies: +1800
Phillies moves last week kept the roster intact
Apparently, Philadelphia’s offseason moves weren’t enough to impress oddsmakers, but the team made some improvements. And many of them arrived last week.
Earlier in the week, the team reached an agreement with Realmuto on a contract that was for five years and $115.5 million, according to ESPN. On Friday, the team announced a one-year, $3 million-dollar deal with Moore, who returns to the MLB after a year in Japan where he posted a solid 6-3 record and 2.65 ERA in 15 starts.
And on Saturday, the team kept Gregorius (who was labeled as one of the best free agent shortstops available by CBS Sports), signing him to a two-year, $28 million contract.
Those moves, coupled with an investment in the bullpen (with additions Archie Bradley, a closer, and relievers Sam Coonrod and Jose Alvarado), give Phillies fans some reasons for optimism.
As noted by the Philly Sports Network, Philadelphia scored the fifth-most runs in baseball last season and the lineup is essentially the same. The bullpen should be better too. The starting rotation, which went unchanged outside of Moore’s addition, is likely the biggest area of concern.
The other factor working against the Phillies is that the NL East might be the strongest division in the National League. Even with a respectable roster, Philadelphia is expected to finish fourth. The Braves are the favorites at +145, followed by the Mets (+160), the Nats (+500), and then the Phillies (+700).
Players await formal announcement on season start
It’s likely Philadelphia has finished the bulk of its offseason activity after the flurry of moves last week. And the team’s next chapter might now be decided by the league and the players’ union.
A recent ESPN article mentions that the league has approached the players’ union about moving spring training back to March and the first games to the end of April, rather than the beginning. Absent of an agreement, spring training would start next month, with the season arriving in the first week of April.
Whenever baseball actually begins, Philadelphia fans can feel good about their team. The offseason moves have been solid, if not spectacular. And they should be enough to keep the team in contention.
If nothing else, they’ve spent to win.
Lead image credit: AP Photo/Nick Wass