Ron Costello

Friday, September 15, 2017

Where there's hope there's fire. Will 2018 be the year the Phillies start their climb? Do they have enough pieces to put together a winner, i.e., an above .500 record and a shot at a wild card?

They do, if the suits upstairs believe in the pieces they have, are willing to spend money, and make a few over the winter deals.

What's important is this: Who will the Phillies trade to get better?

Well first they must decide who to keep: Galvis, Hernandez, or Franco. Or do they all stay? It's possible, but with Scott Kingery hammering on the door, the infield could get cramped. Kingery had 26 home runs at Lehigh Valley and hit .304. Just as Hoskins was, he's overripe.

J.P. Crawford seems comfortable at third. Could the April lineup be Crawford, Galvis, Kingery and Hoskins? Or could it be Franco, Crawford, Galvis, and Hoskins. Or how about Franco, Crawford, Hernandez, and Hoskins.

Either way, it's not my problem. I don't get paid the big bucks to make those decisions, I just watch and criticize. That's why I'm a card-carrying member of the Faithful. Except I don't boo. Not even JD or JW.

Next question: Does Tommy Joseph have a future with the Phillies after September 30th? That question can be answered with this: No way in hell will Rhys Hoskins be a Phillies left fielder. The club drug its feet and plopped Hoskins in left to give Tommy Joseph more auditioning time.

In other words get him more at-bats and pray he hits the crap out of the ball. With 15 games left, he's got 21 home runs on the plus side but he's hitting .238 on the downside. And he's really a nice guy so maybe that will help. However, 42-plus home runs over two seasons is nothing to sneeze at and they might keep him.

The Phillies outfield is looking good, too, short of a 30-plus home run hitter with a gun for an arm. That's why they have free agency. But, lookit, they might want to save free agency for the rotation and hope Nick Williams will hit 'em. They also have Dylan Cozins at Triple A, another member of the overripe club. Like Hoskins, Cozens hit a ton of home runs for the Iron Pigs — two shy of what Hoskins hit for the same team in the same year.

Hint, hint, bring him up, boys.

Speaking of trades, there might be one in the outfield, which is getting more crowded than the Downingtown regional line, and somebody like Aaron Altherr might bring a good, young arm. On the other hand, once they get rid of Hyun Soo and bring up Cozens, things should be fine. After all, there will be some bench slots to fill.

Ah, ha, good young arms! They certainly have a few of those. One or two free agent signees and look out. Just Google 'free agent pitchers 2018.' Or maybe a combo pack of two or three expendables — Franko, Rupp and Joseph — might get a 12 game winner. Use to be you wanted a 20-game winner, but who wins 20 anymore? Like slow pitch softball, if a starter reaches the sixth it's a major celebration.

Well see here, I went seven in Dream Week. But then I had to use my left arm to comb my hair for six months.

Here's the thing. Former general manager Pat Gillick said back in aught-fourteen that the Phillies won't contend until 2017 or even 2018. Remember?

Well, guess what?

Are you excited, yet?

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