Gelb thinks Vince is a fait accompli
So the Phillies will need Jake Arrieta, their $75 million pitcher whose unceremonious Phillies career is near an end. They will need Vince Velasquez, who wasn’t good Monday and will make at least two more starts in 2020. His Phillies career, so promising at the beginning, is almost over, too.
I feel like the Phillies sold us, and themselves, a bill of goods this year.
That’s the thing. The Phillies could go 7-7 to finish 30-30 and that probably puts them in the eight-team National League field. Even 6-8 for a 29-31 record could be good enough. They hold just about every tiebreaker because of their strong divisional record. But, how satisfying is it? Were the Phillies and their franchise-record payroll designed to just make the postseason or to advance deep into it?
I mean, they were designed to advance deep into the post-season prior to 2019, but once the bottom fell out of that goal, very few people thought they could do it this season. Most pundits and oddmaskers predicted another 3rd or 4th place finish, maybe 84-86 wins. Wild card at best. And that's what we wound up getting, except with an expanded playoff that lets you get in at .500. Before the Marlins series and the injures they were probably on pace to be an 86-87 win team (32-28).
If Middleton's refusal to pay the luxury tax was essentially a challenge to Klentak - "we spent all this money, make it work" he should probably fire him, though I suspect Klentak wouldn't have accumulated all those obligations w/o Middleton pushing for it. If it was more of a tacit admission that he didn't think this team was anything more than a fringe contender and therefore not worth the $, he probably won't (or should have last year).
But if they really want to make run over the next three years, they either gotta find a creative way to shed payroll or go into the tax. One year before the new CBA won't kill them. By 2023 maybe they don't have to pay it, maybe they do, or maybe they're trading Nola and JT that season anyway.