What the Mariners can learn: Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies are like a walking home run derby in October, just crushing teams with the long ball. With a record of 7-2 in the playoffs, the Phillies swept the #3 seed and NL Central champions St. Louis Cardinals in the Wild Card round, ruining their ride off into the sunset dreams for Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina.
In the division series, they dominated the #2 seed from the NL East and defending world champion Atlanta Braves in 4 games. In the NLCS, they avoided the 111-win Dodgers, and instead took on the #5 seed San Diego Padres. While the games were close, the Phillies had a little bit more pitching, a dominant home crowd, and always seemed to have one more big hit in them than San Diego.
The Phillies being in the world series back in April wouldn’t have sounded crazy, but after a terrible start to the season, and the firing of manager Joe Girard, interim manager Rob Thomson did a fantastic job of fixing the culture and getting the bats going.
It wasn’t always perfect, but by the end of the season, Philadelphia caught and passed Milwaukee for the 6th and final spot in October. The journey may not have been what Dave Dombrowski, President of Baseball Operations, had envisioned when he took over the team in 2021, but the destination was the same nonetheless.
The Phillies have homegrown players that are going to be playing for a championship tonight. Guys like Aaron Nola, Rhys Hoskins, Alec Bohm, and Bryson Stott will all have their chances, but this team was built to win a championship because ownership and management went out and bought a championship-level team.
Since 2019, the Phillies have gone out and signed Zack Wheeler, J.T. Realmuto, Bryce Harper, Nick Castellanos, and Kyle Schwarber. They traded (with Seattle) for Jean Segura, Brandon Marsh, Kyle Gibson, and Noah Syndergaard. That’s 9 players that we will see in the world series, 7 starters, including the Phillies going out and buying an ace, and 4 all-star level hitters that have completely changed this ball club over the past few seasons.
That is $111,834,615 in free-agent acquisitions for Philadelphia’s top 5 players. That’s a lot of dough, but now the Phillies are 4 wins away from a world title for the first time in over a decade. I’d say it was worth it.