Nov 8, 2016; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Phillies general manager Matt Klentak during the MLB general managers meeting at the Omni Scottsdale Resort. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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The Phillies stayed rather quiet at the winter meetings this year compared to previous seasons. Despite that, the meetings went well overall for them.
The Phillies left the 2016 winter meetings looking fairly similar to how they entered them. With the meetings now over, there is little left this offseason before the hype of spring training starts up in late January/early February.
Unlike the last two years, the Phillies didn’t make any trades at the meetings. In 2014, they dealt Jimmy Rollins for Zach Eflin and Tom Windle and then swapped Marlon Byrd for Ben Lively. Last year, they made one of the biggest moves of the winter in trading closer Ken Giles to the Astros for a bevy of pitchers. That trade set the precedent for teams getting bigger prospect hauls for closer.
Let’s take a look at what the Phillies did this year at the winter meetings and how it impacted the team.
Sep 23, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Joaquin Benoit (53) pitches against the New York Yankees in the seventh inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Overall, the Benoit signing was a good one. He adds a veteran presence to a young and inexperienced bullpen, yet it also has plenty of potential. Even if he doesn’t pan out, his one-year contract means that he won’t bog down the Phillies in the long-term.
However, general manager Matt Klentak and the team fully believe that Benoit will succeed. Klentak told Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly:
Oct 2, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies owner John Middleton watches on during the post game celebration for Ryan Howard (6) at Citizens Bank Park. The Philadelphia Phillies won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Selecting Flores was a can’t-lose move for the Phillies as they lack minor-league shortstop depth after J.P. Crawford and Malquin Canelo in Triple and Double-A, respectively. He likely won’t be much more than a depth guy in the organization, but there’s always the hope he puts something tangible together. Since there are no restrictions on players selected in this phase of the draft, he is Philadelphia’s as long as they want him.
While I would have loved to see Milner fill that role for the Phillies instead of another team, it would be hard for him to do so. He was left off the 40-man roster for a reason as the club sees much more potential in other pitchers in the system. Milner could always wind up back with the Phils, or he could stay in Cleveland and possibly form an interesting Milner-Miller combination with Andrew Miller.
The Phils also lost right-handed pitcher Jairo Munoz, who up until this point I had not heard of before. He pitched just nine innings in the minors this year, one with the Gulf Coast League Phillies and eight with High-A Clearwater. Considering he didn’t rise above the rookie-leagues until the 2015 season, it’s hard to see the club missing Munoz.
Jul 11, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; National League outfielder Odubel Herrera (37) of the Philadelphia Phillies during workout day before the MLB All Star Game at PetCo Park. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Some trades could have happened that never panned out
Compared to the rest of baseball, the Phillies were relatively quiet at this year’s winter meetings. The White Sox began what could be a complete disassembly of their team in trading away Chris Sale and Adam Eaton. While it seemed like Andrew McCutchen would be on the move sooner rather than later, he stayed where he was in Pittsburgh.
While Vince Velasquezrumors were all the rage when the season ended, there was little chatter about him when the meetings came around. It looks like the hard-throwing righty will be around next year, if not longer.
The Phillies remained quiet for the most part at the winter meetings this year, but that isn’t to say it went poorly for them. Joaquin Benoit was a nice pickup to help solidify the bullpen, and the Rule 5 draft didn’t hurt them too much. Even if some moves were left on the table, their 2017 potential is about the same, if not more, as when they entered the meetings.