Phillies Notes: Jean Segura, Payroll, Bryce Harper
Despite earning their Wild Card berth on the last day of regular season baseball (ironically beating the Astros at home), the Phillies have come up short in their quest to win their third World Series title. Having played through a roller-coaster of a season with hot streaks, cold streaks, a managerial replacement, and an injury to their star player, Philadelphia danced their way to their first playoff appearance since 2011 and their first World Series since 2009, defeating the Cardinals, Braves, and Padres en route to the Fall Classic.
As the franchise pivots to off-season mode, they will have a few questions to answer starting with Jean Segura. Previously discussed in MLBTR’s 2022-23 Free Agent Series, Segura headlines a relatively weak second-base free agent class, and the Phillies currently hold a $17MM club option with a $1MM buyout on the veteran’s 2023 service. On the heels of a solid 2022 season which saw him post a .277/.336/386 slash line, the Phillies may opt to save money and use a combination of Edmundo Sosa and Bryson Stott to man second base, having rumored interest in long-time Red Sox Xander Bogaerts.
For his part, Segura has expressed a desire to remain in Philadelphia, having told the media, “to be honest, there’s nothing more special than playing in front of Phillies fans…It’s just a pleasure to be able to play in front of those amazing fans,” reports Tim Kelly of Phillies Nation. Segura went on to add that he “would love to finish my career in Philadelphia.”
The Phillies currently have an estimated 2023 Payroll of $161MM, per Roster Resource. After having spent $242MM this past season, the club is expected to continue to add to their core of Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Nick Castellanos, and Kyle Schwarber along with younger players such as Rhys Hoskins, Alec Bohm, and Bryson Scott.
For his part, Harper is sure that President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski and owner John Middleton are going to add to the team, telling reporters that “we’re gonna be the same team but with some more pieces to make us that much better,” per NBC Sports Philadelphia. Manager Rob Thomson shares a similar sentiment, telling reporters after the game that the Phillies roster is “sustainable,” going on to explain that Philadelphia has “a good group of veteran guys, and our system is starting to get loaded up with very good arms at the end of the minor league system,” per Maria McIlwain of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Harper, despite being diagnosed with a tear in his right UCL in early May, slashed a strong .286/.364/.514 with 18 homers, earning his first trip to the All-Star game in a Phillies uniform. He missed additional time during the season, initially landing on the 10-day IL in late June with a fractured left thumb before being shifted to the 60-day IL in mid-August. Nevertheless, due to the introduction of the universal DH, the Phillies were able to use Harper in a DH-only fashion, salvaging a season from their star player. This rule change helped the Phillies reach the postseason, in which Harper slashed an outlandish .349/.414/.746 with 6 homers in 63 at-bats.
Now that the 2022 season is officially over, Harper’s rehabilitation plan will likely come to light in the upcoming days. Position players that have recently suffered damage to their UCL include Dodgers’ infielder Max Muncy at the end of the 2021 season and Rangers’ shortstop Corey Seager at the start of the 2018 season. Muncy opted not to undergo surgery and said that the recovery was not as quick as he had hoped and that six months after the injury, he wasn’t fully recovered. In contrast, Seager underwent surgery and missed the remainder of the season before returning for the 2020 season. Harper and the Phillies have not indicated which route he will take, but, depending on the severity of the injury, the start of his 2023 season may be delayed.