The Philadelphia Phillies truly surprised the rest of the league last season when they fought their way from a wildcard playoff game all the way to the World Series. While the Phillies had high expectations, no one honestly thought the team would be capable of making a World Series run.
Last season, the 2022 Philadelphia Phillies had a forgettable start. They showed glimpses of their potential but overall, they struggled. By the time the team was 51 games into the season, they had a 22-29 record. Their record did not meet the standards that the Phillies front office had been expecting and it led to the firing of veteran manager Joe Girardi. Girardi was a highly respected manager; he just could never get things figured out in Philly. Girardi would end his Phillies tenure with a 132-141 record.
This led to the hiring of interim coach Rob Thompson. Thomson was Philadelphia’s bench coach and coordinated spring training for the last five seasons. He signed with the team in 2018 and was tasked with turning around the poor start to the season that the team had. Thompson would quickly go on to become a favorite around Philadelphia. He always had a cool, laid-back demeanor. He was put in the spotlight, and it never seemed to be too much to handle.
After taking over on June 3rd, Thompson would lead the Phillies to a 65-46 record. The team was led by former MVP Bryce Harper. Together, Thompson and his team rallied their way to the playoffs, and they won a postseason game for the first time since 2010. However, it didn’t stop there, and the Phillies’ magical run took them all the way to a World Series match-up with the Houston Astros. While the team would go on to lose the series, there is no questioning just how much growth and improvement the team experienced during the season. They have some true monumental pieces.
Losing the world series wasn’t an easy loss for the team and their fan base to handle. Now expectations are much higher as they want to make it back to the game’s biggest stage more than ever before.
According to Fangraphs, the Phillies’ luxury tax payroll currently sums to roughly $242 million, which is $9 million over the $233 million tax threshold, and $11 million under the next tier of $253 million. The team isn’t afraid to spend money as they believe they have a team that can seriously compete for a championship.
The Phillies head into the 2023 season with some key players on the injured reserve list:
- All-star Bryce Harper had Tommy John surgery back in October. He faces a long recovery, but he told fans that he plans to be back in the lineup by the all-star break in July.
- Fan favorite Rhys Hoskins suffered a torn ACL during a spring training game on March 24th. His recovery will take up to 9 months and he’s expected to miss the entire season.
- The Phillies also have the number 1 pitching prospect in the MLB with 22-year-old Andrew Painter. Unfortunately, on March 10th, Painter experienced forearm tightness and was diagnosed with a sprained UCL. This will keep the young, talented pitcher out until at least early April.
Clearly, the Phillies must handle some adversity as they are dealing with some serious injuries. Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper are arguably the team’s two best offensive players, and the team will certainly miss their production. Playing in the National League East against teams like the Mets and Braves means that every game counts for the Phillies. One poor stretch of games and they could fall out of the playoff picture very quickly.
The Phillies will need to rely on the other players on their roster to carry them while they are short-handed. The team handed out some big contracts over the past two seasons to players such as Kyle Schwarber, Nick Castellanos, and most recently, Trae Turner. Turner arguably has the most pressure on him this season as he’s coming fresh off signing an 11-year 300-million-dollar contract that is fully guaranteed. The team has high expectations for him and the rest of their roster as they feel like the team is deep enough to make a playoff push despite their early season injuries.
With the season six games in, it’s safe to say the Phillies haven’t had a hot start. They sit with a 1-5 record and are tied to last place in the division with Nationals. The team clearly has the tools to turn things around, but they need to do it quickly if they want a shot at bringing the World Series Trophy back to Philadelphia.