Missed Opportunities: Why This Season Was the Phillies’ Best Shot at a Championship

The Philadelphia Phillies season came to an end with yet another blown series lead as they fell to the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series. While the Phillies had a lot of great moments in the postseason, it was ultimately overshadowed by their inability to produce with runners in scoring position and cold stretches at the plate by their biggest stars. Here is why this year was the Phillies’ best shot at a championship.

Why the Phillies Missed Their Opportunity This Year

Lack of Competition

Give a lot of credit to the Arizona Diamondbacks as they came out and battled, challenging Phillies hitters, and coming through in the clutch when they needed it most. With that being said, this was the Phillies best shot at winning a title due to the perceived lack of competition remaining in the postseason.

The Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers aren’t going to continue to lie down and choke in the playoffs. With the talent that both of these teams have, they are bound to get it together and advance far in the postseason. The Phillies were able to get past Atlanta, but you can’t rely on the Braves faltering every single year going forward, especially with the talent locked up for a long time. The Phillies’ success against Atlanta cannot be relied upon as a consistent trend.

In the AL, the Orioles and Rays are on the rise with talented rosters despite a low payroll. Those teams lost early in the playoffs but they will be title contenders for many years because of the youth movement in both AL East squads. In addition to those powerhouses going down, the Astros also went down in the ALCS.

As we know, the Phillies lost to the Astros in 2022 and Houston posed a real threat to repeat if they made the World Series once again. The Phillies would have been a slim favorite against the Texas Rangers if they managed to get past Arizona. With the Rangers lacking postseason experience, the Phillies would have had a chance to avenge last year’s World Series loss with one more year of postseason games under their belt.

Roster Questions Looming

This Phillies team is not getting any younger and faces uncertainties heading into the free agency period.

Aaron Nola and Rhys Hoskins are set to hit the market this winter, while decisions loom on the futures of players such as Kyle Schwarber, Ranger Suarez, and Zack Wheeler, the latter of whom will be a free agent in 2024. There will be plenty of suitors for Aaron Nola due to his durability and dependability and beyond this offseason, Zack Wheeler and Ranger Suarez will be on teams’ radar due to their dominance both in the regular season and the playoffs.

The Phillies will have Bryson Stott, Alec Bohm, and Brandon Marsh on the roster for years to come as they have upcoming arbitration cases, but they are expected to get paid big money which could price them out of key free agents and resignings.

Rising Contenders

The Diamondbacks showed that they are a legitimate threat and should be for a long time. They have a young core that is just getting their feet wet. Add in the Marlins and Reds, and you have three young teams that have the potential to take over the league for years to come.

At the same time, you can look at teams like the Padres, Mets, and Giants who underachieved this year. The Padres and Mets have a lot of talent on their roster, with more reinforcements coming from the minor leagues in the very near future. The Mets were sellers this year, bringing in a nice haul of prospects in the Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander trades to go along with newcomers Francisco Alvarez, Brett Baty, Ronny Mauricio, and Mark Vientos. All of these teams are on the rise and the Phillies will have their work cut out for them in a tough National League.

If the Phillies want to make another deep postseason run, they must keep their core together and develop top prospects such as Andrew Painter, Mick Abel, Justin Crawford, and Aidan Miller.  Investing in a robust farm system and effective player development will absolutely be crucial for long-term success. This current roster is not getting any younger and they have a lot of talent on both sides of the diamond.

With that being said, this was the Phillies shot at a title. They had it handed to them on a silver platter by the Dodgers and Braves and they blew it right in front of our eyes. Now the road to get back to the World Series will be an uphill battle, when it could have easily been right in their grasp.

Main Image: Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

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Ben Wiley

Nice well-written article. I agree with a lot of your points.

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