Klentak confident offense headed in right direction

Klentak confident offense headed in right direction

ATLANTA -- A couple of weeks ago, Pete Mackanin said he hoped the Phillies would acquire a couple impact bats in the offseason.

He asked for just one on Tuesday.

But will he get even that? It remains to be seen. Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said Wednesday at Turner Field that he agreed with Mackanin that the Phillies' offense needed to improve in 2017 -- the Phillies are last in baseball, averaging 3.80 runs per game -- but it doesn't mean it must come in free agency.

"Every decision that we make will be measured against the short-term implications and the long-term implications," Klentak said. "We want to do everything we can to field the most competitive team on the field that we possibly can. We also want to make sure we continue to provide opportunities to our young players to develop. That's the fine line that we'll have to tiptoe all offseason."

This winter's free-agent class is considered the weakest in years, so it is unlikely the Phillies will sign a free-agent hitter to a multiyear contract. But Klentak said there will be opportunities in the market.

"Free agency is an important market for us and every team to improve our club," he said. "Just how strongly we invest in it is going to depend, No. 1, on the types of players that are available and, No. 2, on where the organization is at that moment. It depends on a lot of things. Determining how aggressive to be in free agency depends on a lot of factors." 

So knowing that there aren't a lot of big talents available, the Phillies could acquire a complmentary hitter or two while the team continues to play its youngest players.

Besides, Klentak believes they already have the players in the organization, either at the big league or Minor League levels, that can be the future cornerstones of the lineup.

"What I'm encouraged by is the volume of quality players that we have in the organization right now," he said. "I would tell you that most talent evaluators from around the league would agree that we have a very deep system. Some of the players in our system are going to turn out to be better than we thought. Some of them are going to turn out be worse than we thought. Some of them are going to get hurt.

"It just reinforces the notion that you need to have a lot of prospects. It's why they're prospects, but I'm confident that several of them are going to reach the big leagues and become impact contributors. Maybe next year, maybe a few years down the line, maybe some of our players will be used in trades to acquire the frontline bat or starting pitcher down the road. But I'm very pleased with the volume of talent that we have in our system."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.