I have to say, at 54 years old and a life long Phillies fan I have never been more unhappy with the teams direction.
We have just had a rebuild that lasted years, it ended with trading our prospects prior to the 2019 season, which resulted in the pinnacle of this core, a .500 year w/o playoffs.
Now we are looking at watching our 2nd best player and the best at his position in the game walking. We have no minor league system to speak of, widely recognized as one of the worst in baseball. We have 2 of8 positions filled (3B and RF) and a utility player who has not hit ML pitching very well slated for another. After that we have a host of hopefully average players, but most likely below average.
Our starting pitching has 2 good pitchers, one inconsistently good and no one. We have one of the worst bullpens in the league in the last 20 years in a time where bullpens matter more than ever. We have 1 bullpen pitcher that is solid (Neris) who is forced into a closer role by default, he isn’t really suited for that. Every other bullpen pitcher is a big, big question and we just released our best LHP from the bullpen.
Add to this that the owner, who seems to be slow playing the fans, has made it fairly clear that next season is a throw away because he doesn’t want to pay an incompetent Head of Baseball Operations to just sit at home and do nothing. So he is going to leave the GM slot empty until he can try and build a front office from the bottom up after next season. Time to do that, my guess: 4-5 years.
This is going to go down as the worst rebuild ever. It resulted in one .500 season, a few near that, zero playoff appearances and somehow we managed to be near the top of the league in payroll but can’t put together a team that can even really be called “good”.
Is this team already in decline? Yes, sadly, amazingly, it clearly is. Harper should be trying to force a trade within 2 years I would assume. I have to think that Nola and Wheeler also have no interest in watching a rebuild starting from a completely empty minor league system.