In 2019, Bryce Harper signed a 13-year $330M contract with the Phillies, leaving his old team, the Washington Nationals, behind. The superstar right fielder signed with the Phils because they had a winning team and would be able to maintain a winning team due to the club's revenue. In addition, Philadelphia is a bigger market.
In 2020, the Phillies took another step forward by hiring Dave Dombrowski as a President of Baseball Operations. However, Dombrowski had a new challenge to his Modus Operandi with an already weak farm system.
Well, here we are now in 2022. The Nationals won the World Series when Harper went to Philly. Now the team is going on three seasons without touching the playoffs. The Phillies have not been in the playoffs since 2011, when they got eliminated in the NLDS by the team that would become World Series Champion that year, the St. Louis Cardinals.
Philadelphia has made a splash in free agency, assuring that they will compete in a tough NL East. The team acquired Brad Hand, Jeurys Familia, Aaron Barett, Kyle Schwarber, and Nick Castellanos. The Phillies also retained center fielder Obdubel Herrera.
Free agency took a couple of arms from the team. Ian Kennedy, Archie Bradley, and Hector Neris signed elsewhere. Also, the Phillies lost two notable bats in Andrew McCutchen and Brad Miller.
The brand new Phils look good, but not for their division as they are similar to another National League team, the San Diego Padres.
The Mets acquired a new outfield and a significant starting pitcher- Max Scherzer. Also, Jacob deGrom is healthy. They traded for Chris Bassitt and signed Adam Ottavino. New York is not playing around and wants to get over the hump.
Miami also improved significantly better. They acquired Avisail Garcia and Jorge Soler by the free agency; Joey Wendle was also acquired in a trade with the Rays. Also, their farm system is not going anywhere, with huge names coming up.
Washington may not be at the 2019 level, but they still have Juan Soto and recently acquired Nelson Cruz for the DH spot. In addition, their pitching may be no joke, even without Max Scherzer. So while the Nationals will probably be the last team in the division, they will still become an obstacle for every team trying to get to the new extended playoffs.
Then we have the 2021 World Series Champions, Atlanta Braves. This team is not going to be an easy competition. They did lose Jorge Soler, Joc Pederson, and Freddie Freeman. But they replaced the first base gap with Matt Olson, brought Kenley Jansen, and got superstar Ronald Acuña Jr. back from injury. Their bullpen and starting core are phenomenal. It seems that the team is determined not to have a championship hangover.
The Phils have a long uphill battle in the division. First, they do not match their division teams' pitching: starting and relief pitchers are inferior. The infield situation is a mess with a declining Didi Gregorius at short and a 1B/DH Rhys Hoskins that can't catch the ball. Finally, the fielding errors we saw in the 2021 season were just sad—there more questions than answers with this team that may only surpass the Marlins and Nationals.
With this kind of competition, the Philadelphia Phillies may not be "good" for a long time. However, even with big names such as JT Realmuto, Bryce Harper, and Nick Castellanos, the Phillies are this season a third-place team.