PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - OCTOBER 24: Philadelphia Phillies principal owner John S. Middleton looks on during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the Championship Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citizens Bank Park on October 24, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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Phillies Owner Calls Out Team After Blowing NLCS Lead: ‘I’m Angry’

The Philadelphia Phillies were one NLCS win away from reaching the World Series for the second straight year last October. That would've been the first time they did that since 2008 and 2009. Team owner John Middleton still isn't over being that close to returning to the Fall Classic following a loss to the Houston Astros in 2022.

He spoke to Phillies players at the team's spring training complex in Clearwater, Florida recently and gave a passionate speech about bringing the World Series trophy back to the City of Brotherly Love. Middleton also shared his general dismay about what happened in the NLCS with the Philadelphia Inquirer's Scott Lauber on February 20:

"If you're using the phrase, 'Get over it,' it'll never happen. I mean, '09, '10, and '11 still hurt. You don't get second chances to win that year. To be up 2-0 [in the series] and heading to a place [Arizona] where you took three out of four in August and lose two out of three, and then lose two at home, when you have your foot on your enemy's throat, you kill 'em. And we didn't do it.

"I'm angry. It's a funny word to use, but when you lose like that, I get angry. And frankly, if people don't get at least a little angry, I'm not sure you care enough."

You can't say this guy doesn't want to win.

Philly has dipped into free agency for major acquisitions in recent offseasons, but it didn't happen this winter. The club's biggest move included re-signing starting pitcher Aaron Nola to a seven-year, $172 million deal. Don't let a lack of big-time acquisitions be confused for inaction, though.

The Phillies knew they were on the outside looking in when it came to the pursuit of Japanese hurler Yoshinobu Yamamoto. So, they offered him more than the $325 million he eventually signed for with the Los Angeles Dodgers. They've continued to be connected to other top free agents, too. This includes the likes of outfielder Cody Bellinger before he re-signed with the Chicago Cubs and starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery.

As it currently stands, Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA projections have the Phillies finishing a distant second behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League East. However, they also peg Philly's odds of returning to the postseason at 57.9%.

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