Phillies

Not just injuries or bad luck, this Phillies team 1 through 25 isn’t good enough

Not just injuries or bad luck, this Phillies team 1 through 25 isn’t good enough

This many games into the season a year ago, Jean Segura was hitting .344. 

He finished Sunday's loss at .268.

Through this many games in 2018, J.T. Realmuto was hitting .312 with an OPS over .900.

He struck out in the ninth inning Sunday and is down to .260 with a .743 OPS — 10 percent below the league average.

Cesar Hernandez's on-base percentage was 42 points higher at this point in the season a year ago.

The list goes on and on and on and on. The Phillies are underperforming. Offensively, defensively, starting rotation, bullpen. This does not look like the 90-win team many projected it to be. Some of that is due to injuries but more of it has been caused by players falling short of expectations.

The Phillies lost 6-4 on Sunday to the Marlins (see observations). They were out-hit 16-4. They were embarrassed this weekend by a team that opened the season with a $72 million payroll. 

It was the first time since August 2009 the Phillies have been swept at home by the Marlins, who were still the Florida Marlins back then. 

The deficit in the NL East just continues to grow — it's now at 6½ games with the Braves beating the Nationals Sunday.

"It's not good," Bryce Harper said. "We're just getting beat on both sides of the ball, pitching, hitting, everything. We have to do everything we can. We have to battle. Doesn't matter the count, who we're facing, if it's the Miami Marlins or L.A. Dodgers."

Over the last 35 games, the Marlins are 18-17. The Phillies are 15-20. We're talking more than a month of the schedule.

The hard truth right now is that the Phillies just are not that good. Their current roster, 1 through 25, is not as talented or as deep as the current rosters of the Braves and Nationals.

Switching hitting coaches won't magically transform this offense. Moving Scott Kingery up to the leadoff spot won't spark this lineup to new heights. Up and down the batting order, the Phillies simply need more from their everyday players. Harper needs to hit for more power. Segura needs to find the stroke he had for most of the last 3½ seasons. Realmuto needs to be the middle-of-the-order bat the Phillies thought they were acquiring. The bench players — whether it's Roman Quinn or Andrew Knapp or Sean Rodriguez or Maikel Franco — need to get a hit once in a while.

"I'm absolutely certain of it," Kapler said when asked if he's seen any reasons to believe guys like Segura and Realmuto can get back to their career norms.

"It would shock me if Jean Segura didn't get to his normal numbers by the end of the season. And it would shock me if J.T. didn't as well. Both those guys are skilled, athletic hitters. We don't look at stretches that bring our batting averages down by even 50 points because we know that happens over the course of a season. And we know that Jean Segura over the last three years is a .300 hitter. So we know that he's going to be somewhere in that neighborhood at the end of the year. 

"It's not a sure thing. It's not like you can chalk it up, but that's what we bet on. That's what we do when we acquire great players. We say there's going to be tough times. I'm not going to quit on our players in tough times. We're going to trust them to be who they are. That's what this game is all about. It's ebbs and flows. It's times of sh---y performance and times of successes and we get together as a group in the tough times. We fight together. That's what we're doing right now."

What if this team, as presently constructed, is not good enough to fight out of it? The goal, after all, is an NL East crown, not a one-game wild-card berth. 

It’s a question many in the city are asking and one the Phillies' front office is certainly asking itself in private moments.

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These ugly Cowboys-looking Phillies hats have Philly fans freaking out

These ugly Cowboys-looking Phillies hats have Philly fans freaking out

Remember back on Phillies opening day 2019 when the team used a logo extremely similar to the Dallas Cowboys' star on the jumbotron and everybody freaked out?

Well, it seems we have a reprise of that situation today but in hat form.

We bring these questionable caps to you today via a reddit post aptly titled, "On no.... please god no..." which shows images of a new Philadelphia Phillies hat made by New Era that is currently being sold.

Philly fans absolutely hate it. Not only does it cloesly resemble the Dallas star, it's also just kind of ugly.

the front:

The hat is part of the New Era Elements Collection where they take something smaller from the team's actual logo and make it the main thing on a hat. The Cincinnati Reds used a mustache which is awesome. The Baltimore Orioles' smily bird looks pretty cool.

And then there's this very bad Phillies hat.

It's pretty obvious they are highlighting the star from the middle of the 'P' which is blown up on the front of the cap and featured relatively normal size on the back of the fitted cap, but it's still way too similar to the Dallas Cowboys' star for most in Philadelphia's liking.

The back:

It's unclear if these hats will ever get anywhere near the actual baseball team. Let's hope not.

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Phillies free-agent targets: Josh Donaldson

Phillies free-agent targets: Josh Donaldson

Leading up to baseball’s winter meetings, we will take a daily look at some of the game’s top free agents and how they could potentially impact the Phillies.

Today, we check in on slugging third baseman Josh Donaldson.

The vitals

Donaldson has been one of the game’s premier sluggers the last half-dozen seasons. He’s an above-average defender at third base and an outstanding competitor. He has belted at least 33 homers in four of the last five seasons and led the American League with 123 RBIs in 2015, the year he won the AL MVP for Toronto. He battled injury in 2017 and 2018, signed a one-year, $23 million contract with Atlanta a year ago and went on to prove himself healthy by finishing 11th in the National League MVP voting in 2019. He played 155 games for the Braves and hit .259 with 37 homers, 94 RBIs and a .900 OPS.

Why he fits

At a position loaded with sluggers, Donaldson is still one of the best and the Phillies have a big need. Phillies third basemen ranked 24th in OPS (.725) and batting average (.243) and 22nd in homers (23) among big-league clubs in 2019. Donaldson’s fiery style of play would quickly win him fans in Philadelphia.

Why he doesn’t fit

The injury history, coupled with his age — he turns 34 in December — would be a concern on the long-term deal he is seeking, especially when the Phillies have a young third base prospect, Alec Bohm, scheduled to play at Triple A in 2020. Donaldson is one of three big third basemen on the free-agent market with Anthony Rendon and Mike Moustakas. The Phillies have already shown an interest in Moustakas, whose price tag could still allow the team to pump significant resources into pitching.

The price tag

Donaldson jumped quickly at a one-year deal last year. That won’t happen this year. He is said to be looking for at least three years and you have to figure the average annual value will be in the neighborhood of $25 million. If Donaldson keeps producing like he did in 2019, he’d be worth it.

Scout’s take

“He loves to play. And when he’s healthy, he’s a major difference maker. There’s value in that power. The concern for me would be that it’s a long season and he could fit more in the American League because of the DH.”

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