The Phillies plans for 2024 have seemingly been set. They re-signed Aaron Nola, their number 1 priority, and will likely spend the rest of the offseason upgrading the bench and bullpen. There are some players who don't factor into their plans for the 2024 season, which begs the question, where will they end up next year and beyond?
Michael Lorenzen: Royals, Two Years, $21M
While Lorenzen might not be rivaling Ohtani anytime soon, he had a solid stint with the Tigers as a starter in 2023 and looked to be a steal early in his Phillies career. He had a solid first start in Miami, and you probably know all about his second start. Unfortunately, he stumbled down the stretch, and was relegated to the bullpen late in the season.
Meanwhile, the Royals were just barely not the worst team in the league, finishing 56-106, 6 games above the A's. The Royals' starting pitching was abysmal, as the lowest ERA of any Royals pitcher with more than 75 IP was Zack Greinke's 5.06 mark. However, they have interesting young players, and a promising starter in Cole Ragans, and will likely look to round out their rotation with someone who can, at the very least, eat up some innings. At best, they either have a competent 4/5 starter, or a valuable trade piece, and at worst, he's probably not as bad as Jordan Lyles.
Craig Kimbrel: Cubs, One Year, $8.5M
Craig Kimbrel will go down in infamy in Philadelphia, but the season wasn't all bad. After struggling in April and May, he dominated in June and July, pitching to the tune of a 1.04 ERA with 33 SO in 26 IP, earning an all-star nod, and even striking out Jose Ramirez for the final out (after his usual cardiac arrest inducing antics). Unfortunately, he returned to his early season form later in the year, and will most likely be remembered for his NLCS Game 4 meltdown. I can't imagine a universe where Craig Kimbrel is a Phillie in 2024.
Kimbrel will either get picked up by a non-contender hoping to have a trade chip at the deadline, or a contender hoping to bolster their bullpen, and I think the latter is more likely. Kimbrel was inconsistent, but his numbers overall weren't bad, and he showed that his ceiling is still high. The Cubs just barely missed the playoffs, and a return to Chicago doesn't seem out of question for Craig. Depending on how Kimbrel's 2024 goes, he could be a welcome addition to an already decent Cubs bullpen.
Rhys Hoskins: Angels, Two Years, $37M
Hoskins is a fan favorite in Philadelphia, and out of anyone leaving the Phillies this offseason, he is the one people are most sad to see go. Unfortunately, Hoskins just doesn't fit into team plans going forward, with Harper starting at first base, and Schwarber likely DH'ing full time. Hoskins will be remembered in Philadelphia, and will get a standing ovation upon his return to Philly.
While the Angels will say goodbye to Ohtani, and have been flirting with the idea of trading Mike Trout, but GM Perry Minasian says that a rebuild is out of the question. A return to California certainly isn't out of the out of the questions for Hoskins. Hoskins is one of the better bats on the market, and one that could be had at a team-friendly price, provided Hoskins returns to form. Unless the Angels decide on Nolan Schanuel as their opening day first baseman, Hoskins would provide some good pop for an otherwise struggling team, and could always DH if needed.
The Phillies can't, and shouldn't, hold on to everyone. Some of these signings may work out very well, or they may end in disaster. Last offseason, we saw Zach Eflin go to the Rays and finish 6th in Cy Young voting, but we also saw Noah Syndergaard go to the Dodgers and Jean Segura go to the Marlins, both of whom were DFA'd before season's end. Only time will tell how these contracts will go, and whether we'll be lamenting their loss, or giving thanks at not having to witness another Kimbrel pitch clock violation. If you disagree, let me know where you think they'll end up in the comments below.