Winter Meetings Scene
The Philadelphia Phillies enter the month of December and Winter Meetings in San Diego with an agenda. That position is to reinforce, replace, and improve their squad to return to Red October.
Dave Dombrowski, Sam Fuld, and John Middleton all came, saw, and conquered.
Veni, Vidi, Vici! For all the Classics lovers out there.
What is next? or What is needed?
Lost: David Robertson, Zach Eflin, Noah Syndergaard, Brad Hand, Jean Segura, & Corey Knebel.
Gained: Trea Turner, Taijuan Walker, Matt Strahm, & Craig Kimbrel (Also, Rule-5 pick up Noah Song)
Honestly. Not a bad off-season so far.
Ownership and Dave Dombrowski have done an excellent job reloading prime players into areas they needed; at the same time, they also made us better with less.
That is to say, so far, they have done more with less. At this point, it is safe to say that all the remaining moves will be made toward the bullpen (as far as we know).
As alluded to in the previous section, the Phillies managed to improve the quality of the team with four signings and a Rule-5 pick-up.
Turner reinforces the lineup and the middle infield with the departure of Jean Segura and the movement of Stott to second base. With Harper out of the lineup for the foreseeable future, Turner must be relied upon to make up for the 2021 MVP.
The Daycare will look to take steps forwards on all fronts to return the Phightins to the Fall Classic. Bohm, Stott, Maton, and Vierling will need to keep the lineup moving and work at-bats to provide the excitement we all had this past season.
Walker provided the much-needed balance in the Phillies rotation. Amazingly, the Phillies made it to the World Series with basically three starters. Only a couple of spot starts from Syndergaard and a Bailey Falter implosion (which thankfully turned into a win). Walker will give Ranger Suarez the desired 3-4 follow-ups to Wheeler and Nola.
The bullpen has been granted a future Hall of Famer in Craig Kimbrel and reinvigorated Matt Strahm. Kimbrel will provide the needed veteran support that Dominguez, Alvarado, Brogdon, and Bellatti will need next season. Kimbrel and pitching coach Caleb Cotham will be the magic to keep the positive Phillies bullpen vibes going in 2023.
The organization and the Phanbase will be hoping for a second-season resurgence of Nicholas Castellanos. His adjustment period has expired. Phans going down to the ballpark in 2023 are eager to see him litter the field with doubles and get into the 30s again with dingers. Hopefully, his flash of leather in the playoffs and his 2021 offensive prowess are not just a proverbial flash in the pan.
Bryce Harper is out. The Phillies fanbase had to accept this since November, when it was reported he would be having surgery. Losing him in the lineup and the field has affected the team significantly. Getting him back by after the All-Star break will be crucial to a mid-season resurgence.
Who knows where the Phillies will be in the Division come July, but in 2022 Harper was the best September Call Up. Now, he might be the best mid-season acquisition in 2023.
Then there is Rhys Hoskins. He is in his contract year, and Mr. Inconsistent, Mr. We know what we will get, or Mr. Bat Slam will be back at first base once again. However you look at Hoskins is hit or miss with the fans.
Will he emerge in his contract season to get paid and remain a Phillies for life? Or Will he depart us at the deadline or in Free Agency?
Finally, the Division got a whole lot tougher. Spending money has been a blessing for the Phillies this past season, but what about everyone else? Steve Cohen and the Mets have spent an astronomical sum on building a super team of free agents.
Will it work? That is a debate for another time, but as the Division gets more challenging, it provides excellent competition and lots of fun baseball ahead.
Ugly is a word I'm not sure people would use for the Phillies anymore. Granted, the Phils are a big bat-heavy team, but this team has great balance whether Keith Hernandez says so or not.
The only ugly or uncertain thing will be the following questions:
- Who is going to be the fifth starter?
- Who is going to be the Closer?
- Will the Phillies cope without Harper for half a season again with Matt Vierling alone to back up Castellanos, Marsh, and Schwarber?
These are the major uncertainties or uglies being referred to in this article.
There are a lot of options to answer all of these.
When it comes to the fifth starter, Dave Dombrowski has indicated it could be any of the five young pitchers: Bailey Falter, Cristopher Sanchez, Griff McGarry, Mick Abel, or Andrew Painter. Dombrowski has been known to throw a young pitcher into the fire and out came Justin Verlander, so it's not out of the question for one of the trio of prospects to make the jump from Double-A to the Majors.
Rob Thomson utilized the closer-by-committee strategy, but whether he will do it again is up in the air. However, that may or may not change with the addition of Craig Kimbrel. For most Phillies fans, the assumption was that Seranthony Dominguez would finally anchor the bullpen. But who knows at this point? That will be a Rob decision come Spring.
The uncertainty of Matt Vierling being the fourth outfielder was a 2022 problem, but he did manage quite well last season. He has a high exit rate and hits a lot of line drives but caught line drives. It will be interesting to see how he progresses in lieu of Harper's absence. Would it have been better to get someone to back him up outside the aging Jake Cave?
We will discover all this and more in the 140th Season of the Philadelphia Phillies!
Happy Holidays Phillies Phans!
Who is winning the NL East in 2023?
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