Alright, the heavy lifting is done. Trea Turner is in the fold, the shortstop market doesn’t need the Phillies’ toes in it anymore and they can move on to the rest of the roster. For a team that came within two games of winning a World Series, there is still a bit of work to do too. What’s next?
That’s what is next.
The top three the Phillies currently have in their rotation would be the envy of anyone in the league. While there might be duos at the very tippy top that other teams would rather have, it would be hard to argue the Phillies don’t have one of the best 1-2 punches in Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola. Add Ranger Suarez to the mix and they have something cooking. But the NLCS and the World Series did show that they could use another starter. They have options, names like Bailey Falter, Cristopher Sanchez and yes, Griff McGarry, Andrew Painter and Mick Abel. But the extended innings that was put on those that participated in the playoffs started to show in the later games. The team will want to have as much depth as possible in order to make sure they aren’t relying on those arms too much too early after a postseason run like they went on. So adding a starter would probably be the best course of action.
Seeing names like Verlander and deGrom change their address would mean the Phillies will now have to shop in the tiers below those names. They could go after someone like Carlos Rodon or Nate Eovaldi, but with the qualifying offer attached to both of those names, it’s becoming unlikely that Dave Dombrowski will want to venture down that avenue.
Dombrowksi on the likelihood of Phillies signing two players with QO attached: “Probably not very much. One seems like a lot already. I don’t think we’d have much of an appetite for that. Not saying we never do it, but I would say there’s not much of an appetite.”— Alex Coffey (@byalexcoffey) December 6, 2022
That puts some very specific requirements on what the team is looking for. The type of pitcher they’d probably like to have is someone who would be good enough to start a postseason game and be expected to go 5-6 innings in said game, but still not cost as much both from the checkbook perspective and the ability to add minor league talent perspective.
If you weren’t aware, now that Turner has been agreed to, the team has lost its 2nd and 5th round draft picks. Signing someone who has a qualifying offer attached to their name means the team would then have to surrender their 3rd and 6th round pick, as well as $2 million in international draft bonus money. That is a significant amount of talent the team would have to simply wave goodbye to in lieu of bolstering the major league roster. It’s why Dombrowski is likely deferring to those pitchers who are free to sign anywhere without the chains of the QO.
So, as much as you might want the team to add Carlos Rodon or Chris Bassitt or Eovaldi, it’s probably not going to happen. It’s why you’ve started to see one particular name pop up around the rumor mill as someone the Phillies might be interested in.
The Jameson Taillon market is deep, but sources tab the Mets, Phillies, Cubs and Orioles among the teams to watch.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) December 5, 2022
Taillon represents an interesting guy. He’s almost the perfect model of a mid-rotation starter, someone who has given the Yankees some solid innings the past two seasons, but never really lived up to the lofty standards of that fanbase. This past season saw him throw 177 1⁄3 innings for New York, post a 3.91 ERA (3.94 FIP), strike out around 20% of the batters he faced and exhibit superb command, walking only 4.4% of the batters he faced. He’s just been rock solid for the Yankees, if a bit underappreciated.
The issue will be that since he doesn’t have that qualifying offer hanging over his head, there will be competition for him. That competition will likely cause a team to have to add an extra year to his deal, maybe causing it to go a bit longer than they are comfortable with. It’s something Taillon should absolutely be shooting for since he is perfectly aware of his situation on the market as someone who can provide a team with solid, effective innings without that QO dragging his market down.
There is also the relief pitching market. Dombrowski spoke about not necessarily needing a closer-type pitcher. Instead, the team is looking for someone they can trust at the end of games.
Dombrowski on what they're looking for in bullpen: “I don’t think necessarily a closer, but people that can pitch late in the game, along w/ Seranthony, Alvarado, Brogdon. Ideally at least one of those types. We’re not necessarily looking for a closer, b/c we kind of mix & match"— Alex Coffey (@byalexcoffey) December 6, 2022
One name that did pop up late last night was Liam Hendriks of the White Sox, someone who would need to be traded for, but fits the mold of what the team is looking for.
White Sox closer Liam Hendriks’ name has come up in trade talks with other clubs, per source. Hendriks has a limited no-trade clause that allows him to veto a deal to five clubs.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) December 6, 2022
Hendriks is a closer, a guy who pitches the ninth inning for teams that are looking for some certainty at the end of games. He strikes out a bunch of hitters and doesn’t walk many people, though he did have some trouble with the home run last year. He’s scheduled to make $14,333,333 million in 2023 according to Fangraphs with a $15 million club option in 2024, so one would have to think the price tag wouldn’t be exorbitant to acquire his services. Again, this is just name dropping at this point, but Hendriks does fit what the Phillies like at the end of games.
Making sure they secured one of the shortstops is huge for this team right now. It helps them get ready for what they have to do next. It’ll be interesting to see where they pivot to now. There are plenty of options, so now we just sit and wait.