The Phillies rebuilt with the goal of building a great farm system. Instead, they traded and signed their way to the no-mans-land of being too good to rebuild and not good enough for the playoffs. Let this be a fair warning for the Seattle Mariners in their rebuild.
The Seattle Mariners are in offseason number 3 of their rebuild and so far, Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto has not made any big trades involving prospects leaving Seattle. While this may be annoying to Mariners fans as we wait for Dipoto to give us some offseason entertainment, maybe he is making the right decision to stand pat.
Sam Miller, a columnist for ESPN, wrote this great article about how the Phillies “botched their rebuild.”
The article talks about how since 2015 when the Phillies went 63-99 and had 35-year-old Ryan Howard and 36-year-old Carlos Ruiz leading the team in salary, they have had 4 managers and have made 0 appearances in the playoffs. In fact, the Phillies have not had a winning season since 2011.
The Phillies then rebuilt, and it seemed like it was working. They had built up their farm system from being 29th out of 30 MLB teams in 2012, to what the ESPN article said was a top-five system in 2016, 2017, and 2018.
However, they have traded and signed their way over the last few years to no playoff appearances and are now an old, expensive team with a bad farm system once again.
"The Phillies might still get good, but they’re no longer:young, as their hitters and pitchers were both older than league average in 2020;cheap, as their payroll is back in the league’s top 10, where it was before they stripped down;rich in prospects, as their farm system ranked in the bottom 10 last year;clearly contenders, as (way premature) ZiPS projections for next year see the Phillies as currently constituted winning around 76 games."
So, this should be a warning to the Mariners’ front office who have experience with the Phillies as they dealt Jean Segura to Philadelphia and received JP Crawford in the return. The Mariners can also draw many similarities to the Phillies as they are similarly in a playoff drought and also went from being old and expensive to young, cheap, and having a good farm system.
The Phillies rebuild should be a tutorial on what not to do, and so maybe sticking with the plan and not signing big free agents and trading away prospects to compete now should be the course of action for Seattle. The good thing is that so far, it seems like that is what they are doing.