Are you ready for 2018?
It’s time for a daily news report …
First off, that finale was perfect. The Phillies crushed the Mets 11-0, with Maikel Franco polishing off a (relatively) hot final couple of weeks with his 24th home run, Odubel Herrera smacking his 42nd double, and yeah, Nick Williams rushing out an inside-the-park home run to cap off a pretty awesome debut season for the outfielder. (Also, the Mets, who bungled their way to this loss, are now without a manager and look like a tire fire heading into 2018.)
Would’ve been more perfect with one more Rhys Hoskins home run, but it’s been a long first full season for him. No worries.
Also J.P. Crawford got the final out, tossing a ground ball to Hoskins; that felt symbolic with Freddy Galvis and Tommy Joseph on the bench. Also symbolic: Pete Mackanin getting a standing ovation from the fans at Citizens Bank Park when delivering the lineup card. Guy deserves it no matter what – he gutted through an extremely down period with class while being a solid mentor to scores of young talent.
First, I think the Mackanin reassignment (I guess we’ll call it that) was a solid move, even though no move would’ve been fine, too. Matt Klentak and Andy MacPhail will bring in their choice of skipper while Mackanin stays part of the organization. Meanwhile the Phils have started a new era; this allows them to head into that area with what they feel is the perfect personnel.
Also, something tells me Klentak and MacPhail have someone in mind, and that someone is probably definitely going to take the job. That’s just my hunch.
As for the kids? Great season. Hoskins sputtered late, but again, long season and he *still* put up a 1.014 OPS. Williams was terrific (.288/.338/.473, 12 HR, 14 2B, 55 RBI). Aaron Altherr had a great year. Jorge Alfaro looks promising. Crawford may be hitting close to the Mendoza Line, but there’s no reason to worry about his ability to get on base, and his fielding instincts.
Now the offseason plan seems clear: pitching. We’ll talk more about that in about a week or so. They’ll also have to decide what to do with Cesar Hernandez, who should be appreciated for an outstanding offensive showing (.294/.373/.421, 61 BB, 104 K, 150 H, 85 R). Seriously, the guy has proven himself an everyday player for any team.
The Phillies Nation Podcast will be out later today – gigaantic season recap with grades and such.
Later in the week we’ll go over the big questions, do player recaps, and set you up for what should be a busy, exciting offseason.
The Phillies finished 66-96 – honestly, considering the start, that’s great. More impressive: the future looks bright and a road to contention has been mapped out.
Get excited, Phillies fans. Get freaking excited.