The Phillies were supposed to be where the Mets and Padres are this offseason, making eye-popping moves as they acquire the final few pieces to help them win a World Series. Instead, they are retooling after a five-year rebuild fell short and they removed former general manager Matt Klentak in October. Dave Dombrowski took over as the new president of baseball operations in December.
Dombrowski is hoping to slowly, albeit effectively, upgrade the roster and give the Phillies a fighting chance in a stacked National League East in 2021. He filled two major holes, locking up both J.T. Realmuto and Didi Gregorius on multiyear deals. It helps.
Can Dombrowski do more to make the Phillies contenders? It will be difficult. He is working with a slightly reduced budget in a pandemic world and a bottom-10 farm system. But he will try.
The second-worst bullpen in baseball history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, needs to be completely rebuilt. They have taken a few steps, with Archie Bradley, José Alvarado, Sam Coonrod and (reportedly) Brandon Kintzler the most notable acquisitions. But the Phillies could use more help. Héctor Neris returns. The Phillies like what they saw in spurts from rookies Connor Brogdon and JoJo Romero. Is more help coming?
The Phillies showed a lack of starting-pitching depth in September, which needs to be addressed. Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler and Zach Eflin are a solid top three. Spencer Howard and Vince Velasquez will open Spring Training as contenders for two of the final jobs in the rotation. The Phillies agreed in late January to a deal with left-hander Matt Moore, who will compete with them for a job.
The Phillies filled their most high-profile need on Jan. 29, when they announced that they had signed J.T. Realmuto to a five-year, $115.5 million contract. Throughout the offseason, the organization referred to Plans B, C and D if Realmuto signed elsewhere. But losing Realmuto would have been disastrous. They are fortunate he is back.
The Phillies re-signed Gregorius to a two-year deal, which allows them to bring back a lineup that finished fifth in baseball in scoring in 2020. They will need all the offense they can get.
Feb. 15: Jankowski gets Minors deal
The Phillies announced they signed outfielder Travis Jankowski to a Minor League contract with an invite to Spring Training. He has a .628 OPS and a 74 OPS+ over six seasons with the Padres and Reds. Jankowski attended Lancaster Catholic High School.
Feb. 10: Kintzler, Joyce agree to Minor League deals
Dombrowski said the Phillies agreed to Minor League contracts with right-hander Brandon Kintzler and outfielder Matt Joyce. Both will be in big league camp. If Kintzler makes the 26-man roster, his salary will be $3 million, plus up to $1 million more in incentives. He was 2-3 with a 2.22 ERA and 12 saves in 24 appearances last season with Miami. Joyce has a career .772 OPS and 112 OPS+ over 13 years with seven teams. If Joyce makes the team, he will make $1.5 million, plus performance bonuses.
Feb. 2: Phillies sign three pitchers to Minor League deals
Still looking for pitching help, the Phillies signed three right-handers to Minor League deals with invitations to Spring Training: Héctor Rondón, David Paulino and Bryan Mitchell. Rondón is the most seasoned of the three. He pitched for the Cubs in the 2016 World Series and the Astros in the '19 World Series.
Jan. 30: Did is back, too
Once free-agent shortstops Andrelton Simmons, Marcus Semien and Freddy Galvis signed one-year contracts with the Twins, Blue Jays and Orioles, respectively, the Phillies knew they needed to bring back Gregorius.
Jan. 30: Clearing roster space
To make room on the 40-man roster for Gregorius and Moore, the Phillies traded left-hander Cole Irvin to the A’s for cash considerations and Rule 5 pick Kyle Holder to the Reds for cash considerations.
Jan. 29: Sign J.T.! Sign J.T.!
Re-signing Realmuto had been the steady call from Phillies fans and Realmuto’s teammates since last summer. They got it done. To make room for Realmuto on the 40-man roster, the Phillies designated right-hander Ian Hamilton for assignment.
Jan. 29: Moore could help rotation
The Phillies and Moore agreed to a one-year deal, pending a physical. It is a Major League contract, meaning he has a legitimate chance to win a job in the rotation. He pitched last year in Japan.
Jan. 26: Nova nation
The Phillies announced they signed right-hander Iván Nova to a Minor League contract with an invite to Spring Training. He gives the Phillies another veteran starter in camp.
Jan. 14: Phillies find their 2020 closer?
The Phillies agreed to a one-year, $6 million deal with right-hander Archie Bradley. Bradley has a 2.95 ERA and 28 saves in 221 appearances over the previous four seasons with Arizona and Cincinnati. He figures to be the Phillies’ closer or setup man in 2021.
Jan. 9: Coonrod acquired from Giants
The Phillies sent prospect Carson Ragsdale to San Francisco to acquire the hard-throwing Coonrod. Coonrod, 28, had a 5.74 ERA in 51 appearances over two seasons with San Francisco. He had a 3.58 ERA in 33 appearances in 2019, but a 9.82 ERA in 15 appearances in 2020. His four-seam fastball averaged 98.4 mph last season, which ranked fourth in baseball (minimum 50 four-seam fastballs) behind Garrett Crochet (100.1 mph), Jacob deGrom (98.6 mph) and Sixto Sanchez (98.5 mph).
Jan 4: Phillies sign four veterans to Minor League deals
The Phillies signed catcher Christian Bethancourt, infielder Ronald Torreyes and right-handers Neftalí Feliz and Michael Ynoa to Minor League contracts. They will be in Spring Training as non-roster invitees. Feliz, 32, won AL Rookie of the Year and made the All-Star team with Texas in 2010. He has not pitched in the big leagues since 2017, but he owns a 3.07 ERA in 15 appearances in the Dominican Winter League. Ynoa made 45 relief appearances from 2016-17 with the White Sox. Torreyes spent most of last season at the Phillies’ alternate training site in Allentown, Pa. He has played 240 games in the big leagues over parts of six seasons (2015-20). Bethancourt spent big league camp with the Phillies last year. He has played 161 games over parts of five seasons (2013-17) and provides the Phillies some veteran catching depth.
Dec. 29: Alvarado acquired from Rays
The Phils traded for Rays flamethrowing left-hander José Alvarado as part of a three-team deal that sent Garrett Cleavinger to the Dodgers.
Dec. 10: Holder selected in Rule 5 Draft
The Phillies picked Yankees shortstop Kyle Holder with the 11th overall pick. Holder, 26, slashed .265/.336/.405 with nine home runs, 40 RBIs and a .742 OPS in 472 plate appearances with Double-A Trenton in 2019.
Dec. 7: Phils add righty reliever
The team claimed right-hander Ian Hamilton off waivers from the Mariners. He has a 4.50 ERA in 14 career appearances with the White Sox, including four in 2020.
Dec. 3: Bringing them all back
The Phillies signed or tendered contracts to all seven of their players eligible for salary arbitration. They tendered contracts to right-hander Vince Velasquez and first baseman Rhys Hoskins. They agreed to deals with right-handers Seranthony Domínguez ($727,500), Zach Eflin ($4.45 million), David Hale ($850,000) and Héctor Neris ($5 million) and catcher Andrew Knapp ($1.1 million).
Nov. 1: Realmuto receives qualifying offer
The best catcher in baseball received a one-year, $18.9 million qualifying offer as expected. Gregorius and the Phils' other free agents did not.
Oct. 30: Options declined, players outrighted
The Phillies declined club options on Robertson, Phelps and Héctor Neris. Neris remains eligible for salary arbitration. The team also outrighted Morgan, Hembree, Parker and Phil Gosselin, all of whom cleared waivers and elected free agency. The Phils claimed right-hander Johan Quezada off waivers. He made three appearances in 2020 with Miami.