I actually think this team is far better than people are giving it credit for. While you can't discount injuries in the evaluation, what looks like an 84-win team today would almost certainly be a 90-win team with just McCutchen, an adequate Arrieta, and 2-3 of the injured relievers, even with an otherwise weak rotation beyond Nola, an inconsistent offense and the disappointing 3B/CF (mitigated somewhat by Kingery).
And if it had looked that good in mid-July they would have added better players than Vargas or Dickerson (though they've both been very good, and Dickerson especially is probably better than just about any extra OF they might have otherwise pursued).
Joe Sheehan revisited this topic again today too:
if Kapler was a bit more cuddly they would be writing sonnets for him. The Phillies are contending for a playoff spot despite losing Andrew McCutchen in June, despite getting seven innings from David Robertson, 24 from Seranthony Dominguez, 18 bad ones from Pat Neshek. Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos, key parts of last year's pen, have missed most of the year. Jake Arrieta pitched through an elbow injury for months before being shut down. Odubel Herrera has been out since May, when he allegedly assaulted his partner in Atlantic City. Herrera may not be much, but the Phillies have been running Scott Kingery and Adam Haseley out to center in his absence. (Roman Quinn is hurt, as he always is.)
The Phillies spent a lot of money in the offseason, made a lot of big moves, but in March they looked like a fringe division contender that probably didn't have enough pitching or enough defense behind that pitching. That's exactly what they have been. They've suffered, what, six, seven wins' worth of injuries, and on August 30 they're still a decent bet to get at least one playoff game in the deal. I don't think Kapler is a great manager, myself, but he is creative, always looking for edges. He's better in 2019 than he was in 2018, generally avoiding big mistakes.
The defensive improvement is also an underrated factor even if they are still not great. Anyway, brass tacks, they are contending now, they will contend next year, and the team will be designed to do so. Also one of Haseley/Bohm/Moniak/Stott won't be in the organization by this time next year (could be as soon as December, could be the deadline).