Crash Bag Vol. 38: Pete Mackanin is No Longer the Manager
The Phillies fired Pete Mackanin today. It is a move that isn’t really surprising given that the team has fully transitioned from a rebuild into a straight build now. The Phillies have their offensive core in the majors now, they needs some pitchers and have the means to do so. It is an exciting time to be a fan, and the first question today jumps right into all of this.
@theotherguysmom: If the Phillies move on from Pete and the Mets letting Collins go, which team would be considered a more attractive landing destination?
I think it is easily the Phillies. I think the Mets have the better situation to contend in the 2018 season. If they get Cespedes and Syndergaard back fully healthy and pair that with deGrom and whatever they get from Matt Harvey, they have a solid core. That said, that organization is an absolute train wreck, whether it is meddling owners who are also cheap, or the fact that all of their pitchers just combust. It is a toxic situation, and one where instant success will be the expectation, because right now the Mets have no more farm system.
On the other hand the Phillies are young and imprintable. There is some personality to this current group, and any sort of style would err on the side of young and energetic, but it would be the new manager’s team. You also know that a deep farm system and deep pockets mean that there will be reinforcements. If the Phillies fire Pete, it likely means there will be expectations on growth and performance, but there is a developing core here that could allow for that to happen.
@ethan_witte: Arquimedes Gamboa: why should I get happy?
Having J.P. Crawford in the farm system has ruined us a bit for shortstop prospects. Until the past year, we took for granted that shortstops that can hit and field at a high level are really valuable. Gamboa is a guy with the tools to be that kind of player. He is a fast twitch athlete who struggled with consistency at the plate and in the field. This season, Gamboa spent his whole time at Lakewood playing at age 19. After he mashed his way through August and September (.327/.364/.531), he ended up with a better line than both Mickey Moniak and Daniel Brito. Gamboa is a switch hitter who greatly struggles from the right side, but he has a good eye (25 BB to 29 K as a lefty) and surprising pop. He ran less this season, but he also did not get caught stealing. In the field he has a good arm, range, and instincts leaving no doubt for evaluators that he can stick there long term. There is some risk that he just never gets his bat to a high level and is somewhere in that range between a Freddy Galvis level starter and Wilson Valdez like journeyman. There is also a chance he arrives in Clearwater next year and launches himself up prospect lists.
@KRAM209: Speculate: How many pitchers do the Phillies buy this offseason and how do they buy them?
@anthony_arot: What are you looking for the Phillies to do this offseason?
I think the Phillies add two starting pitchers this offseason. I think one long term and one short term. I think long term they go after Cobb or Lynn having found that the year commitment on Darvish and Arrietta to long for them and the trade market too rich. That could change if a team like the Blue Jays wants to sell. Speaking of the Blue Jays selling, I like J.A. Happ as a one year rotation stabilizer and mid rotation arm. If the FA market goes crazy, I threw out on Twitter a Jeff Samardzija trade. Samardzija is having his best walk and strikeout year and has just under 3 years and $60M left on his contract. I suspect the Phillies could get him for almost nothing if they ate the full contract. You wouldn’t be looking for him to be your ace, but a high 3s ERA and 200 innings is a good #3/#4 and about what you are looking for out of Cobb or Lynn going forward.
Outside of starting pitching, I think the Phillies do make a move for a reliever just to help give more depth. I don’t see them going for Wade Davis, but I like Anthony Swarzak as another 8th inning type arm if they are will to roll with Neris as the closer for another year.
On the offense I think they trade Galvis, and maybe trade Cesar. This really leaves third as the only real question mark. I don’t know what the Yankees might want for Chase Headley, but he hits righties, can play some first and historically is a good fielder. That allows the Phillies to platoon him with Franco, maybe bump Hoskins to the outfield if you need to give 1-2 of the guys out there the day off. It also would just give them some built in injury resilience.
@J3KDF: Is Adam Morgan braking out as an elite high leverage reliever?
Yes. But not as a closer. I don’t trust Morgan against righties yet. However, I think his numbers against lefties are legitimate and if you can use him selectively he can be a weapon out of the bullpen. I have comped him to J.C. Romero with the 2008 Phillies a couple of times, but he might fit better with what Jake Diekman was here. If you have an inning I would say in the 6th to 8th with a couple of big lefty bats coming up you turn to Morgan to go get those guys out. He also has the ability to go multiple innings if your bullpen is stretched or if a team is left handed heavy. That makes him less valuable than a shutdown closer, but that makes him a really good pitcher to have.
@JoeLyonsII: Crawford is walking a ton but his average is down to 213. Should we be worried?
@babsell_champ: Is Crawford’s early performance cause for concern? Seems like Stairs is messing with his swing (2 hand follow thru)
His swing is a bit long and while he got his footwork under control, there are certainly things that could be improved about it. All that said, Crawford has a .351 OBP in the majors through his first 20 games. He has 14 walks to 13 strikeouts in his last 14 games. He is not driving the ball yet, but he is working counts and I think the contact will come. It is important to remember this is a 22 year old kid at the end of a long season who is not only making his major league debut, but doing it a different position (and being absolutely dominant there). I think he is popping the ball up a bit too much, but he has a 27.9% LD% and many of them are finding gloves so far. In other words, I am not worried at all about Crawford. He is going to be fine.
@Wet_Luzinski: What beers are you most looking forward to drinking in the offseason?
The craft beer scene here in Wisconsin is still in its infancy which means it is very IPA and pale ale heavy. I don’t think it ever gets the European (read Belgium tripel) influence of the east coast, but in the winter we do get more dark and malty beers which are what I really love. My hope is that I will get to taste the Mayan cocoa version of Spellbound’s Living the Dream? but I don’t think I will get a chance to snag a bottle of the limited release (Spellbound is from my hometown and doing cool things so I really want to support their growth). Otherwise having gone to college in Cleveland I always by a 4 pack of Great Lake Brewing Company’s Blackout Stout. It isn’t the best Russian Imperial out there, but it is nostalgic and cozy. It also works really well for float with sour beers in a black and tan.