By Sam Bush
MLB’s winter meetings were a total Zoom deal, and they just ended.
But for Phillies owner John Middleton, the work is just beginning.
Phillies interim GM Ned Rice told teams they would at least listen to trade offers for pitcher Zack Wheeler.
But when ESPN’s Buster Olney was the first to report it, Middleton’s dramatic reaction included him saying that he wouldn’t even trade Wheeler for Babe Ruth.
But that just showed how little Middleton communicates with his baseball operations department.
There is pressure on Middleton to figure out who he wants to run baseball operations, and he probably needs a complete restructure more than he’s willing to admit. Middleton will need to decide if he wants to hire Michael Hill to run the baseball side of things, or perhaps operate out of the box with a surprise candidate. Either way, there is mounting pressure for a decision.
Once that decision is made, then negotiations have to commence in earnest to try and get catcher J.T. Realmuto and shortstop Didi Gregorius to return, and if not, to find their replacements. Then there is the added urgency of revamping a bullpen that is in desperate need of a complete overhaul. The Phillies need to make a ton of decisions, and the clock is ticking while the pressure gauge goes through the roof.