2016 Record: 71-91
2016 Finish: 23rd in the MLB, 11th in NL
2016 in Review
Tommy Joseph was drafted by the San Francisco Giants as the 55th pick overall in the 2009 MLB Draft. Making his way through the Giants system, Joseph was traded to the Phillies with two other prospects in exchange for Hunter Pence. After three concussions the Phillies made a decision: Joseph was the replacement Ryan Howard at First Base.
Playing for AAA Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, Joseph put up crazy numbers in the first 27 games of 2016, posting a .347 average and a .611 slugging percentage. It was only a matter of time until the big league club called him up, and on May 13th, Tommy Joseph made his major league debut.
Tommy Joseph is the guy the Phillies should build around. He’s got the tools, the swing, the abilities and as a former catcher, he’s got the leadership prowess to lead this young team into the future. At its core, that’s the issue Philly needs to solve. How do we get these young players full of potential to perform at their best and hold themselves to a higher standard? Leadership. One Thousand Times Leadership. Tommy Joseph has shown himself to be a leader on the field and replacing the elder statesman of the club as a starter. He’s the future of the club. Get into it.
2016 gave us the end of the Ryan Howard Era. Twelve years after his major league debut for the Phillies, Ryan Howard played his final game in Philadelphia. As a Mets fan who came into the fold post-Phillies World Series, I always felt I missed out on the Ryan Howard craze. Regardless, it was a craze. Howard didn’t get the nickname “The Big Piece” for no good reason. Howard’s 2005 season, that won him Rookie of the Year honors, was nothing short of insane, and his follow-up season earned him MVP honors. Ryan Howard was Kris Bryant before Kris Bryant was Kris Bryant. In 2010, the Phillies and Howard signed a 5-year, $125 million dollar extension, with a club option for 2016. Hindsight is 20/20, and the Phillies should have had hindsight for this signing. Ryan Howard’s production would never be the same, and now he goes off into the future with the burden of knowing he’s in the twilight of his career.
There were a lot of disappointments for the Phillies this year. The inability to move anyone at the trade deadline, the production for your starters, THE GARBAGE DUMPSTER FIRE IN THE BULLPEN. All of those could have easily been our choice, but what struck me about Howard as disappointing was the fact that this guy is done. Ryan Howard, who dominated Major League Baseball for so long, is finished and he didn’t even get to go out on top. We live in a world where Mariano Rivera, Jeter and Big Papi get retirement tours, but Ryan Howard who is just trying to play the game up until the very end gets pushed out. I think that’s a little sad.
I know it’s not the same thing at all, but I’m reminded a bit of the 2001 All-Star Game. Safeco Field was buzzing with excitement for the star-studded All-Star Game, but two men had the most buzz surrounding them, Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tony Gwynn. Ripken really stole the show and even hit a gifted dinger early on in the game, but Gwynn was lost in the shuffle and was given one inning in the field late in the game. Tony Gwynn, Mr. Padre, is within the top five hitters of all time, THE GUY ONLY HAD ONE SEASON WHERE HE HIT BELOW .300, but he goes out without celebration or applause. In a game where heroes and villains are so well defined, sometimes the grinders and the little guys get lost in the shuffle. Ryan Howard deserved a better send off that his last few years in Philly, but who knows, maybe he’ll get it somewhere else.
The Phillies signed Michael Saunders to a one-year, $9 million dollar deal, as well as trading for Kendrick from the Los Angeles Dodgers. This should bring some stability to the Phillies outfield that saw different guys too many times this season. Saunders will be a welcomed addition to Odubel Herrera. Kendrick is a very smart move as well, giving the Phillies depth in the outfield and the infield. Kendrick is a great guy to have on your squad because he can play anywhere at a very high level. The Dodgers used him at second, third, first and in the outfield during his tenure there. He’ll get a lot of use in Philly.
So far this offseason the Phillies haven’t addressed their bullpen issues. The only two big pitching moves they’ve made is signing Joaquin Benoit and trading for Clay Buchholz. Those are not what you would call “big, progressive moves.” If the Phillies want to compete this year they have to sure up their pitching staff. If they don’t, they’ll end up like Atlanta in 2016; at the bottom of the standings.