The 2022 MLB season is finally underway as the agreement between the Players Association and the owners put to bed an ugly three-month period. So as teams begin to scramble and put into place their rosters one huge thing looms Free Agency. Show Us the Money!
The Free Agent class of 2022 is highlighted by some real big names, as every year that is the case. Just like every year teams engage in a bidding war for the services of those names with the potential of sending those teams over the top. The other fun past time of free agency is the war between fan bases with each other.
Each fanbase claims it’s the best landing spot for potential game-changing free agents. The fanbase claims that if we spend, we win. Each base accuses its ownership of being cheap, or not committed to going all-in because this year like every year is our year.
Here in Philly, it’s no different than any other MLB city. The potential of signing franchise-altering talent tempered with breaking the bank is an annual right of late winter around these parts. Since 2019 the Phillies have added Bryce Harper, JT Realmuto, Jean Segura, Cutch, Zach Wheeler, and as of very recently Kyle Schwarber just to name a few in free agency. Not too shabby right. Yet every year we claim that we are being taken on a ride from “cheap ownership” and there isn’t a commitment to spend. The commitment to spend is there but what about a commitment to win
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
Any owner can open up their checkbook and sign players. It’s pretty easy to do we have witnessed countless examples of that. Gone are the days of the mid 1990’s were teams could buy themselves Championships, just cite the New York Yankees of that era. It now takes a commitment to win, not to spend. Winning goes above the checkbook it goes to the departments responsible for replenishing the wellspring of talent within the system. Drafting, player development, and yes even analytics are all examples of how you show a commitment to winning.
IF YOU DRAFT WELL, THEY WILL COME
When you look at the players we have brought into town since 2019 via free agency and that is all you know of the team you could ascertain that the Philie’s are a playoff-caliber team right? We of course know the real truth. They are not. They are a mind-numbing .500 team. Why?
Pure and simple it’s the drafting of the team over the last seven years. Matt, I will not utter his last name (former GM) took this team and its fan base on a tutorial of how not to draft well over the last 5 years. The fruits of that labor are on full view for all. Currently, the Phillis just like every other MLB team has five levels of minor League Ball. Rookie, Low A, High A, AA, and AAA. But for some odd reason, those five levels of minor league ball don’t have the resources to supplement the following positions for the 2022 Season.
All of Philadelphia went into crisis mode when the Fightins brought back Odubel Herrea. I agree with their concern. But I say the venom for Herrea needs to be redirected towards the ownership team. In five levels of minor league ball, there is not one centerfielder ready for Major League service. This includes the number 1 overall selected player in the 2017 MLB draft, Mickey Moniak, who by my calculations will begin his 6th season in the minors this spring
There is with our pitching. Zack Wheeler’s shoulder and his “flu”, the visa issues surrounding Ranger Suarez, and just not having another available arm should make anyone worry. We as a fan base are now staring at another “bullpen” day every 5th day for this staff. Simply embarrassing. In five levels of minor league ball, not one MLB-ready arm.
Yea, Yea, Yea I get it Bryson Stout is the next best thing, or is he. Currently, as I write this, he does have a shot of earning the starting position out of camp, but it’s not guaranteed. Five levels of minor league ball.
Let’s start with the relievers, catcher, 1B, and 2B. No matter where you look within the system you get the same vibe. Nothing. That is a very hard thing to do in Baseball when constructing an organization, but the Phillies have succeeded.
The bottom line is this the Phillies have spent and spent and spent some more over the last 4 years. They just haven’t drafted or developed players at all over that same time frame. The money tree does have many limbs, but it does have limits. So yes, spending in free agency is necessary to add to your already stable of talent but when you ask to build championships through free agency and criminally neglect the other aspects of building a team well that horse has long been gone. Do you still scream show us the money?
Matt Bednarczyk is your host of Talking Philly Sports With Matty B. He is a proud retired US Army Sergeant First Class, he is also a combat veteran with over 80 months served in Afganistan, and Iraq . Huge Hockey Fan. Matt is a lifelong 4 for 4 Philly sports fan. Born and raised on the Mayfair and Tacony neighborhood lines of Northeast Philly. He brings over 40 years of Philadelphia Sports passion and provides a realistic look at our Major Sports Teams and the most passionate sports fans on the planet. Look for his show live on Edge of Philly Sports.