Sports News

The Phillies Lock Down Another Part of Their League’s Best Rotation

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

This time last year, the Phillies faced long-term uncertainty about their rotation. Aaron Nola was a free agent after the season, Zack Wheeler would follow a year later, and the only forward with a guaranteed contract past the 2024 season was Taijuan Walker. This time around, their rotation also leads the league in WAR, but much of that future anger has been mitigated. The Phillies re-signed Nola and extended Wheeler during the offseason, and have now locked up left-hander Christopher Sánchez, a 2023 sensation who has one left this season, at least four more years, with two team options that could last. his until the 2030 season.

The 27-year-old Sánchez, whom the Phillies acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays for Curtis Mead back in 2019, has a 2.67 ERA/2.49 FIP over 15 starts this season. That’s good for 2.6 WAR, fourth best among National League pitchers. Sánchez will receive $22.5 million guaranteed over the next four seasons, buying out all of his arbitration years, and a $2 million signing bonus. Not bad for someone with just one full year of service going into 2024. The two club options come with $1 million buyouts each in 2029 and ’30, bringing the minimum contract value to $22.5 million. If the Phillies pick up those two options, for $14 million and $15 million, respectively, and if Sánchez remains top-10 in Cy Young voting during those option years, his salaries could rise to $16 million in 2029 and and $19 million’. 30. That puts the maximum total value of the extension at $56.5 million over six years.

If you didn’t see Sánchez coming, you’re definitely not alone. Mead continued to be one of Tampa Bay’s top prospects — he was still ranked fourth in the Rays’ roster and 32nd overall in our preseason rankings — while Sánchez returned from the COVID-layoff battling Triple-A hitters. Changeup pitchers with command problems are often overlooked, and Sánchez’s coffee cup in 2021 or his big carafe in 2022 suggested a pitcher who would be a key part of the upper rotation a year later. The Phillies didn’t trust him going into 2023; he lost weight in the offseason, and the team intended to give him only one starting spot in April after the White Sox doubleheader interrupted the rest of the rotation. From last August’s story by Matt Gelb of Athletic:

Rob Thomson was clear with Sánchez: This was one start, and one start only. Sánchez, who missed much of spring training with various injuries, later said he appreciated the manager’s honesty. He knew where he stood.

Before the call ended, Brian Kaplan had a question. He is the team’s assistant coach and director of field development. The Phillies had floated an offseason deal for Sánchez, a lanky lefty from the Dominican Republic, and it went awry. Sánchez should have added a lot. But the long illness wore him down. He lost more than 15 pounds. He was demoted in the spring when he failed to make appearances as the Phillies tried to fill out the back of their rotation.

In fact, even Sánchez didn’t manage Lehigh Valley last year, but he accomplished one goal the team set for him; by the summer, he had gained 25 pounds. That coincides with a slight chance of grabbing fifth place in the game. The Phillies used Matt Strahm in the role early in the season, but were concerned about his innings count. Dylan Covey had started a couple but was bombed by the Braves in his last, while Bailey Falter, who had been in the rotation before, was in the minors and out with a neck injury. So Sánchez got the nod on June 17 against the A’s; he went four scoreless innings and allowed one hit. His loose changeup — which looks like the wrong forkball in the world — clicked, and he didn’t give the Phillies a reason to remove him from the rotation. Even Michael Lorenzen’s discovery didn’t cost him his job. The Phillies happily went with six players instead of denying Sánchez’s services.

In the first half of this season, Sánchez proved that his performance last year was not a mistake. He has now had a full calendar year, throwing 175 1/3 innings with 157 strikeouts with a 3.08 ERA in 31 starts. He’s unlikely to keep up his home run avoidance rate (just one allowed this season), but even if his home run rate were to take a big step back and cause his ERA to jump into the low 3.00s, he’d still be around. appropriate for his area of ​​circulation.

So, what does the projection look like? Suffice it to say that ZiPS was not happy about his entry into 2023.

ZiPS Projection – Cristopher Sánchez (Pre-2023)

2023 4 4 4.55 26 15 83.0 79 42 10 38 78 91 0.8
2024 4 4 4.39 26 15 84.0 79 41 9 37 79 94 0.9
2025 4 4 4.38 26 15 86.3 80 42 9 38 81 95 1.0
2026 4 4 4.33 27 15 87.3 81 42 9 38 82 96 1.0
2027 4 4 4.34 27 15 87.0 82 42 9 38 81 96 1.0
2028 4 4 4.39 26 14 84.0 79 41 8 38 77 94 1.0
2029 4 4 4.43 26 14 83.3 79 41 8 38 75 94 0.9
2030 4 4 4.52 24 13 79.7 76 40 8 38 71 92 0.8

That is not a tragedy; with those numbers, he would have been a good spot starter/long seller. But it was not even a shadow of what he had achieved in the previous year. So let’s develop his current, sunniest prediction. how sunny is it? Let’s say Tom Glavine comes from the top ten on his comps list and leave it at that.

ZiPS Projection – Cristopher Sánchez (Now)

2025 8 6 3.69 29 28 158.7 160 65 14 48 133 118 3.3
2026 8 6 3.70 28 27 151.0 155 62 14 45 126 118 3.1
2027 7 6 3.81 27 26 146.3 153 62 13 44 120 114 2.9
2028 7 6 3.87 26 24 137.3 146 59 13 43 111 113 2.6
2029 7 5 4.00 26 24 135.0 146 60 13 43 107 109 2.4
2030 6 5 4.12 23 22 122.3 136 56 13 41 95 106 2.0

Most teams would be happy to get this projection from their number. 2 the beginning. From your number. 4, this is like waking up one morning to find that your garden hose is somehow making its own IPA. Based on these numbers, ZiPS projects Sánchez is worth $27.3 million over the course of a four-year extension, making this a respectable amount from the Phils’ perspective. The deal gets even better for Philadelphia when you look at the age of the pick; ZiPS projects Sánchez’s value for 2029 and ’30 to be worth a combined $41 million in free agency, $11 million more than the base price for those years if the Phillies pick up his options.

That leaves Ranger Suárez as the only key member of the rotation who may be out for a long time. He’s set to hit free agency after the 2025 season, and considering his upside this year, he probably won’t come cheap if the Phillies try to extend him; The six-year deal is worth $135 million, according to ZiPS. Having Sánchez until the end of the decade at such a large price would give Philadelphia the flexibility to shell out more money to keep Suárez.

Before we left, I’ve been looking for an excuse to project the Phillies rotation, so I’m not letting this opportunity slip by! Using innings allocation from our depth charts, ZiPS currently projects Phillies starting pitchers to accumulate 8.6 more WAR over the course of the season, which would give their starters a combined 22.7 WAR for the entire 2024 campaign. Here’s how that compares to the best early sticks in the five-man swing era, which I arbitrarily start in 1980:

High Rotation, 1980-2024

The season The team Top Four Starters WAR
2011 Phillies Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt 27.0
1997 The brave ones John Smoltz, Denny Neagle, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine 25.4
1996 The brave ones Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, Steve Avery 24.6
1998 The brave ones Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Denny Neagle, Kevin Millwood 24.4
2003 The Yankees Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina, David Wells 23.8
2002 Diamondbacks Curt Schilling, Randy Johnson, Rick Helling, Miguel Batista 23.8
2013 Tigers Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, Aníbal Sánchez 23.1
1999 The brave ones Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Kevin Millwood, John Smoltz 22.8
2024 Phillies (Thoughts) Zack Wheeler, Ranger Suárez, Christopher Sánchez, Aaron Nola 22.7
1988 The Mets Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez, Bob Ojeda 22.2
2017 Cleveland Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, Corey Kluber, Josh Tomlin 22.2
2002 The Yankees Mike Mussina, David Wells, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte 22.1
2018 Cleveland Corey Kluber, Mike Clevinger, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer 22.1
1999 The Astros Shane Reynolds, Jose Lima, Mike Hampton, Chris Holt 21.7
1990 The Mets Frank Viola, Dwight Gooden, David Cone, Sid Fernandez 21.3
2018 The Astros Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton 21.2
2019 Foreigners Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, Aníbal Sánchez, Max Scherzer 21.0
1995 The brave ones John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Steve Avery, Greg Maddux 21.0
1985 The Royals Charlie Leibrandt, Bud Black, Bret Saberhagen, Danny Jackson 21.0
2003 Cubs Carlos Zambrano, Kerry Wood, Matt Clement, Mark Prior 21.0
2000 The brave ones Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Kevin Millwood, John Burkett 20.9
2021 The Dodgers Walker Buehler, Julio Urías, Clayton Kershaw, Trevor Bauer 20.8
1982 Phillies Steve Carlton, Larry Christenson, Mike Krukow, Dick Ruthven 20.7
1990 Red Sox Mike Boddicker, Roger Clemens, Greg Harris, Dana Kiecker 20.6
1993 The brave ones Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Steve Avery, John Smoltz 20.6

That subtle spirit. Based on this projection, the Phillies will finish the season with the best rotation in baseball in over a decade, since the 2013 Tigers. And with the Sánchez extension coming after the Nola and Wheeler deals, Philadelphia has a chance to keep the party going for several years.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button