Bryce Harper signed with the Phillies and Manny Machado signed with the Padres. The years are many and the money is gaudy. The question is what does it mean for baseball in 2019 and beyond? According to Baseball America’s rankings, the Padres have a farm system that ranked 9th in 2017, 3rd in 2018, and 1st this season. Fernando Tatis Jr. and Luis Urias are two of the most talented prospects in baseball. The Padres have their dream shortstop and second baseman of the future along with top catching prospect Francisco Mejia. Veterans Ian Kinsler, Wil Myers, and Eric Hosmer will keep the team interesting for 2019, but even with the addition of Machado they won’t be a playoff contender. However, a bevy of pitching prospects are on the way. Obviously, they won’t hit on all their prospects, but the joy of having so many is that they don’t need to. It could all fail, Eric Hosmer may continue to underperform, and the pitching doesn’t materialize, but that is the worst-case scenario. More likely, the Padres are contenders by 2020 and one of the best teams in baseball by 2021. The Phillies enter the second year of Gabe Kapler’s regime with some serious firepower, but also some serious holes. Due to call-ups in recent years and a few trades the Phillies’ farm system is pretty poor. The good news is that they have the ability to make the playoffs now. Bryce Harper slides into a lineup already featuring Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto. While the signing of Andrew McCutchen provides a veteran presence, it was the trade for Segura that will impact the lineup more. Jean Segura is a hits machine and will fit in nicely in front of guys like Harper, Realmuto, and Hoskins. The pitching features Aaron Nola, who finished third in Cy Young voting last season. Jake Arrieta struggled, a bounce back season from him would go a long way in changing the Phillies. They signed David Robertson, but will still have to answer some questions about the bullpen and depth. The Phillies won 80 games last year and now have picked up a slew of good players. They may be a step behind the Braves, but it’s only a step.
Bruce Bochy is just a part of the baseball landscape. Not seeing him in the Giants’ dugout in 2020 will be just plain strange. Even non-baseball fans have seen his mug drenched in champagne as the Giants celebrated another World Series. He even looks like the stereotypical coach. He seems gruff and too serious about his job. It doesn’t surprise us to hear his father was in the army, and it probably wouldn’t be too surprising if he was Bill Belichick’s long-lost brother. Bochy is serious about winning which is good because his team has done it quite frequently. Bochy is 11th all-time with 1926 wins. If the Giants win 83 games this year he will move past Leo Durocher and take sole possession of tenth place as he retires. Bochy will remain in the game, but the longest tenured manager will not be in the dugout. Bochy began his managing career right after his playing career ended. He played as a catcher for 9 years, retired, and went on to manage the in the minors for 4 seasons. He managed the Padres for 12 seasons and came out with a losing record but made the playoffs 4 times (The Padres have only made it 5 times in almost 50 years). He took over for the Giants, and after two losing seasons turned the team around. In 2010, 2012, and 2014 the Giants won the World Series. The Giants organization seems saddened to see him go. For the most part, players liked him and respected him. It is debatable how much difference a manager makes. It is tough to quantify exactly what makes a good manager. However, if Hall of Famer is a guideline of a great manager, just wait a few years and you can count Bruce Bochy as one of the greats.