By: Chris Larson
Today, Manny Machado and his escapade will hit the City of Brotherly Love, as they meet with the Philadelphia Phillies. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Phillies entire front office brass comprised of: John Middleton, Andy MacPhail, and Matt Klentak, will be in attendance and skipper, Gabe Kapler, is anticipated to be there as well. As they say, three's a crowd and four's a party, so why not make it a party, when you're trying to attract one of the big free agent fish on the market?
While this might just seem like another free agent meeting, it's a very big day for the Philadelphia Phillies and one that their entire offseason could hinge on. All winter long the entire baseball industry has expected the Phillies to spend copious amounts of money and that was all brought to light even more just a mere 6 weeks ago at the Owner's Meetings.
During the Owner's Meetings, Phillies owner, John Middleton, declared that the team would spend money and might even do it in a "stupid" type of manner. Certainly, something that caught the attention of the entire baseball industry, every Phillies fan, and even the casual baseball fan who might be looking at the entire offseason from the sidelines. Regardless, it was a statement that will resonate with Phillies fans for the remainder of the offseason and be something that the entire industry constantly refers to when evaluating the organization's offseason moves.
However, now that the declaration has been made for the Phillies to spend "stupid money", they have to stick to their promise and do everything they can to lure Manny Machado into signing with them instead of with the New York Yankees, who are reportedly Machado's first preference. It's going to be a difficult task for the Phillies to try and make a better sales pitch than the Yankees, but it's not out of the question that it can be done and Philadelphia can find some major selling points to convince Machado that he fits into their long-term plans.
With that being said, the Phillies front office brass, along with skipper Gabe Kapler, must make a good enough presentation that Manny Machado leaves feeling as though he would be a valued part of the franchise and would be guaranteed the opportunity to win a World Series ring sooner than later. At the start of last season, it looked as though the Phillies could be headed that direction, but with how last season finished, especially from a defensive perspective, it could be a difficult sell.
The Phillies have to be able to hone into how they plan on turning around their defensive liabilities from last season, which to some degree, have been addressed with the trade for shortstop, Jean Segura, from the Seattle Mariners and the signing of free agent outfielder, Andrew McCutchen. For Philadelphia, the Segura trade ultimately allowed the team to dump first baseman, Carlos Santana, and open up first base for, Rhys Hoskins, a move that many around the industry praised.
Furthermore, the Phillies have to convince, Manny Machado, that they are committed to winning now and will put a winning team around him with other complimentary pieces. Assume that Machado does sign with the Phillies, they still need to do something to address their bullpen, something that was also an achilles heel for the team last year. Also, you could make the argument that the team might even need to bolster their starting rotation with another starter, potentially in the form of free agent left-hander, Dallas Keuchel.
While the moves that the Phillies have completed to this point, have allowed them to become a better team in some regard and could show Manny Machado that they are trying to establish a winning roster, the organization can't stop there. They need to continue to go "all-in" and ensure that the moves they are making go above and beyond the moves that the New York Yankees have already made or are going to make in the near future.
After all, the Phillies are trying to sell Machado on the entire organization being a fit for him and if the Phillies were to enter a bidding war against the New York Yankees, they might have a hard time getting him to sign on the dotted line. It's already going to be a tough sell, given that Machado prefers to play for the Yankees, but if the mission statement of the organization, as well as the overall talent at the major and minor league level isn't addressed, then it's going to become even more difficult for John Middleton & Company.
That's why today is an extremely important day for the organization and one that the entire offseason could hinge on. If the Phillies are able to sell Manny Machado and acquire him, it will be a huge move and certainly help to support the point that their front office is committed to spending "stupid money", but if not, it could be a step towards failure. Failure to make a splashy signing, which has been coveted for years now, and failure to show Phillies fans that the organization is committed to winning now, amid an increasingly competitive NL East.