Betting Odds Show Phillies Expected To Finish Fourth In NL East
Heading into the 2019 season, the Philadelphia Phillies were on top of the baseball world. They had just come off a mediocre season in 2018 where they went one game under .500, but they pulled out their wallets in free agency and cashed in. After spending almost $400 million to bring in five former All-Stars in shortstop Jean Segura, outfielder Andrew McCutchen, reliever David Robertson, catcher J.T. Realmuto, and of course, superstar Bryce Harper, the expectations were high in Philadelphia. However, the results on the field were not any better as they failed to even make a playoff push.
They’ve been far more cautious with spending this time around but did add to their pitching staff with Zack Wheeler. Are they a serious threat in the National League East or are they still a few bricks short of a load?
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES ODDS
TO WIN WORLD SERIES: +4000
TO WIN NL PENNANT: +1200
TO WIN NL EAST: +350
The Phillies didn’t make nearly as many moves as they did last offseason, but they were able to make a couple big splashes on the mound and in the field. Philadelphia was able to sign Wheeler, who went 11-8 with a 3.96 ERA with Mets last season, to bolster their starting rotation behind Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta. They also were able to snag Didi Gregorius on a one-year deal to shuffle into the infield mix Segura and Scott Kingery. Gregorius regressed last season with the Yankees, hitting only .238 in an injury-riddled season where he only played 82 games, but his big bat will be a solid addition for the Phillies. He had clubbed at least 23 home runs in each of the four seasons prior and has at least 61 RBI’s in four straight seasons.
IF THINGS GO RIGHT…
The Phillies will be able to live up to the hype they got in 2019 and be World Series contenders. It’s not like the Phillies were a bad team last year. Winning 81 games in a division that featured the 97-win Atlanta Braves, 92-win and World Series champions Washington Nationals, and 86-win New York Mets is still pretty good. However, with the star-studded lineup they currently have, fourth was not what they were aiming for.
For the Phillies to improve, they need to do better at the plate as they were 22nd in team batting average and 22nd in home runs. If Gregorius gives them a boost and some of their other members of the supporting cast, they should inch up the standings.
The other key is the team ERA. They ranked 17th in the category last season but only one starter had an ERA under 4.00. They have to better in this realm too.
IF THINGS GO WRONG…
The Phillies might be in for another long year that continues their playoff drought and disappointing expectations. Despite all the stars Philadelphia brought in an offseason ago, none of them hit over .280. They already had a solid starting staff before adding Wheeler, but none besides Nola were able to keep an ERA under 4.13. Even Harper regressed all the way down to a .260 batting average. Usually a player or two can slump a bit on winning team as long as the stars are able to continue producing. For the Phillies to reach the goals they have in mind, they are going to have to do better than that.
If none of these areas improve, this will again be a third or fourth-place team in the National League East.