Too far in the loss column to make the postseason and in possession of too many wins that you can’t secure a protected draft pick is really not a place you want to be. Unfortunately for the Philadelphia Phillies, this is exactly where they are in danger of finishing the 2013 season at.
Currently staked to a 69-80 record, the Phillies are the third-best or second-worst team in the NL East. Their record is 16th-worst in the league, which means if the season ended today, there would be no playoffs and more importantly, no protected draft pick.
If the 2014 MLB Player Draft was held tomorrow, the Phillies would pick 14th. The top 10 teams are the ones that are protected. And that means the picks can’t be forfeited, compensated or lost based on free agent signings. Having a protected pick is really the next best thing to making the postseason.
There is no benefit to picking 14th and considering how few players make an impact right away, there is not even much difference between no. 14 and no. 1 or no. 14 and no. 30 in the first round. The difference though is the fact that if you pick 30th, there is no guarantee that you aren’t going to lose that pick one way or the other.
It is quite possible that the Phillies took a more measured approach in the offseason with this in mind. The team hadn’t had a pick as high as no. 16 in quite some time, and it seemed important to the front office that they get a player who they could hinge the future on. And J.P. Crawford, by many expectations, is that player.
Now in the 2013 offseason, the Phillies have lots of improvements to make to their roster, not the least of which is bullpen help. There is also the issue of catching, which is a position of need. Should the Phillies go the free agency route to fill both positions, which seems most likely at this point, and the team could risk forfeiting a draft pick.
But if that pick is top-10 and therefore protected, the Phillies don’t have to worry about taking an aggressive approach on the market.
So while it is never what you preach, losing a few more games this season is the best thing that can happen to the Phillies. Playoffs are out of the question, there really is no reason to play for pride and the schedule doesn’t really support them playing spoilers. Of course, the Phillies should not intentionally lose, but at this point in the season, there really is no reason to mourn losses if and when they should happen.
Marilee Gallagher is a baseball writer for RantSports.com. You can follow her on Twitter @MGallagher17 like her page on Facebook, or join her network on Google.