For the Philadelphia Phillies, Logan Forsythe became just the latest in a long line of low-cost potential options that they’ve brought in this offseason.
And by “some big news,” I mean “yet another bargain basement veteran signing.”
This time it was Logan Forsythe, a 33-year old veteran of nine MLB seasons and five teams. It’s a minor league contract with an invite to spring training that could turn into a reserve spot on the big club if he has a strong enough showing.
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It’s also just more of the same thing that the Phillies have been doing for the past few months.
In this space, I had some fun with them bringing back Phil Gosselin. And I also took a deeper look at the rest of the non-roster invitees that they brought in at the same time. More recently, it was Francisco Liriano and a few other potential bullpen pieces.
Now, the Phillies have come back to the infield with Forsythe, a player who was a decent major leaguer as recently as 2016, when he popped 20 home runs for Tampa. Since turning 30, however, Forsythe has settled back into bench-level production as he attempts to prolong his major league career.
It will come down to a competition between Forsythe and the collection of other infield fillers to take one roster spot, maybe two, in a utility/bench bat capacity. It’s not an awful situation, but it hints at two underlying problems with the Phillies as currently constructed.
One, they are so top-heavy with big contracts that they are forced to go scrounging for cheap yet supposedly competent players to round out the roster. In the best case scenario here, Forsythe or one of his ilk fill a similar role to what Brad Miller gave the club last year. Heck, Miller is still available, why not bring him back too?
At any rate, every team needs depth pieces, but this seems kind of desperate on the part of a club trying to talk us all into the notion that they are a true contender in the National League at this moment.
Questionable roster construction aside, the more disappointing part of this is the fact that the Phillies’ minor league system is so barren that they don’t have anyone who could realistically come up and take a spot, even at the bottom of the roster. The Phils will keep selling us on Alec Bohm and Spencer Howard, and maybe they’ll turn into studs, but it’s ok to produce usable depth players once in a while instead of just trying retreads.
Whether it’s bad drafting, bad scouting, bad coaching in the minors, or some combination thereof, there just isn’t enough coming through the ranks right now to give the Phillies the boost they need. And while that doesn’t meant they CAN’T win the NL East, it sure makes things more difficult.
So best of luck to Logan Forsythe and the other 97 “last chance saloon” veterans that the Phillies have brought in ahead of spring training. I truly hope that at least some of them can pan out and help the team in 2020.