Philadelphia Phillies (2012-2017, 2021)
It seems that the transaction freeze that was caused by the MLB Lockout isn't going to stop the Phillies from losing one of my favorite players. It was announced that the free agent infielder is close to a contract that will take him to Japan to play for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.
The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks are same team that former Phillies infielder Tadahito Iguchi played for from 1997 to 2004 before coming to the United States. Other former Phillies to have played for the Hawks include pitchers JD Durbin (2010), Vicente Padilla (2013) and Matt Moore (2020).
Freddy has been my favorite players since I saw him come up through the minor leagues with the Reading Phillies. He was traded to the Padres after the 2017 season to make room for JP Crawford, who was the Phillies top prospect at the time. Galvis went on to play for the Padres, Blue Jays, Reds and Orioles from 2018-2021 until he was traded back to the Phillies at the deadline this past July. I was very glad to have him back on the team, and I was hopeful that they'd lock him up for at least the 2022 season, but it looks like that's not going to happen. I don't blame him one bit. There's no way of knowing how long this lockout is going to last, or how many opportunities will be available to him once its over. If I were in his shoes, I probably would have taken the opportunity to play in Japan too. Best of luck, Freddy.
A few other Phillies and former Phillies signed deals that will take them out of Philadelphia for the start of the 2022 season. Relief pitcher JD Hammer returned to the Colorado Rockies - the same team that traded him to the Phillies in 2017.
Second baseman Cesar Hernandez, who spent 2021 with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox, has signed a one year deal with the Washington Nationals. That one bummed me out, and not just because he's going to a division rival. I wondered if there might be a possibility of the Phillies trading Jean Segura to the White Sox for Craig Kimbrel, and then signing Hernandez to come back to Philadelphia. It still wouldn't surprise me to see the Phillies make that deal for the closer because it would make sense for both teams, but if they do, they'll have to find another solution at second base.
Finally, as I mentioned last week, Phillies backup catcher Andrew Knapp has signed with the Cincinnati Reds. Knapp had a rough 2021 from an offensive perspective, but he's only one season removed from a .278/.404/.444 slash line in the Covid-shortened 2020 season, and he calls a much stronger game behind the plate than JT Realmuto. Even before the Phillies acquired Garrett Stubbs and Donnie Sands, I didn't expect them to keep Knapp in 2022. The emergence of Rafael Marchan and Logan O'Hoppe as legitimate prospects who are both close to being ready for the big leagues started the clock ticking on Knapp's time in Philadelphia, and that time has officially come to an end in the winter before the 2022 season.
There are still quite a few members of the 2021 Phillies who remain unsigned, including Andrew McCutchen, Ian Kennedy, Matt Moore, Chase Anderson, Archie Bradley, Brandon Kintzler, Roman Quinn, Odúbel Herrera, Brad Miller, Ronald Torreyes, Matt Joyce, Cam Bedrosian, and Travis Jankowski. There are also many former Phillies from previous seasons who are available in free agency, including Cole Hamels, Maikel Franco, JA Happ, Jake Arrieta, Drew Smyly, Vince Velasquez, Jake Diekman, Corey Dickerson, Asdrúbal Cabrera, Phil Gosselin, and Wilson Ramos - plus two players who were almost Phillies: Josh Harrison and Ender Inciarte.
I wouldn't mind seeing Andrew McCutchen and Maikel Franco come back if the price is right as bats off of the bench who could back up LF and 3B, but I'm sure that both men could get starting jobs on a non-contending team, so I doubt that's going to happen. I wouldn't be completely opposed to seeing them bring back Ian Kennedy, Archie Bradley or Jake Diekman to pitch out of the bullpen, but only if they come at a discount and with no expectation of a role as closer. I know it's a stretch, but if I were the Phillies, I might open a discussion with Cole Hamels to gauge his interest in coming back as a relief pitcher. Over the past two seasons, he's had failed comeback attempts with the Atlanta Braves (2020) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2021). He pitched just over three innings total for the Braves and wasn't able to pitch at all for the Dodgers, so his career might be over. I think his days as a starting pitcher are over, but the Phillies have had luck in the past with former starters reinventing themselves in the bullpen, with Chan Ho Park and Jose Contreras both adding productive years to their career. Whether Hamels would be willing or able to go down that path is questionable, but it would be nice to see him end his career where it began in Philadelphia.