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The Phillies year that was, as told by The Good Phight

Using our stories to look back on the past year.

Championship Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Seven
2023 was a good, but disappointing year for the Phillies.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

2023 was quite a year for the Phillies, wasn’t it? We saw the second straight season with the team in the playoffs, and they once again advanced a couple of rounds. That sounds great in theory, and two years ago, we would have signed up for that immediately.

But we all know that in reality, 2023 was ultimately a disappointing year for Phillies fans. The World Series looked to be theirs for the taking...and they simply didn’t take it.

Anyway, since it’s New Years Eve, why not take a look back on the year that was for the Fightins’, courtesy of the TGP archives?

January

January is often a slow month in the baseball world. Most of the big offseason moves have already been made, and we’re still weeks away from Spring Training. But the Phillies weren’t idle during the month, making a trade for reliever Gregory Soto, and signing bench player Josh Harrison. Unfortunately, neither move ended up making that much of an impact on the 2023 Phillies team, with Harrison not even making it to the postseason.

In other Phillies news, former third baseman Scott Rolen was elected to the Hall of Fame, even if some members of the TGP staff didn’t think he merited enshrinement.

February

Pitchers and catchers report! The National League champions began Spring Training with optimism, but also some questions. We also weren’t quite sure how the new pitch clock would affect things.

March

The Grapefruit League and World Baseball Classic were taking place simultaneously. Vibes were great in the former until super prospect Andrew Painter’s elbow began acting up. As for the latter, Trea Turner and the American team were doing well until the final.

After seeing the team come devastatingly close to a World Series, it was worth pondering if our hearts could take another season. But ready or not, the season began. Opening Day was great for a few innings...and then it wasn’t.

Philadelphia Phillies v. Texas Rangers
Everything looks happy and bright on Opening Day!
Photo by Jim Cowsert/MLB Photos via Getty Images

April

The Phillies got off to a slow start, and we began to speculate if it was going to be a lost season. Not too many Phillies were hitting well at the start of the season, but at least Brandon Marsh began the season on a tear.

May

Bryce Harper returned to action much sooner than anticipated, but his early return failed to spark the team. But the Phillies weren’t the only would be contender to struggle in the early part of the season. It felt like Rhys Hoskins’ absence was hurting the team more than expected.

MLB: OCT 03 NL Wild Card - Marlins at Phillies
Missing Rhys
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

June

With a loss to the Nationals, the team bottomed out at the beginning of the month. But the situation soon improved. One of the biggest factors was the rebound season from Nick Castellanos. However, the team was still being hurt by the lack of a fifth starter.

July

The amateur draft was fast approaching, and there was much speculation as to who the Phillies would select. When the big day rolled around, the pick turned out to be high school slugger Aiden Miller.

On the field, the Phillies had two All-Stars, but it probably wasn’t two players most of us would have predicted before the season began.

The first half came to a close, with the team not exactly living up to expectations, but there was hope that the second half would be better. Unfortunately, Nick Castellanos was back in his not-so-great 2022 mode for much of the month.

MLB: JUL 28 Phillies at Pirates
Nick Castellanos was slumping big time in July
Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

August

The trade deadline arrived, and the Phillies acquired a new starting pitcher. And the early returns on Michael Lorenzen were better than anyone could have hoped, with the newcomer pitching a no-hitter in his second start with the team.

Meanwhile, the Phillies’ biggest offseason free agent pickup had been struggling, but after the fans showed their support, Trea Turner’s season turned around.

Off the field, one of the franchise’s all-time best pitchers retired, showing us that time waits for no one.

September

As the month started, the Phillies were in good position for a playoff spot, but there were still causes for concern. The team had a “measuring stick” series against the Braves and came up small. There were concerns that the front office should have been more aggressive at the trade deadline.

But those concerns proved minor. By the final week of the month, the Phillies had done enough to win the NL’s top Wild Card spot and the home playoff series that came with it.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Philadelphia Phillies
Clinched!
Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

October

The playoffs began!

First came Miami, and just as quickly, there went Miami.

Next up was the mighty Braves, who seemed like a more formidable opponent. Despite the presence of Phillies nemesis Spencer Strider, the Phillies sent the Braves home in four games for the second straight year. It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving team.

Then came the “archrival” Arizona Diamondbacks. At first, it looked like the D’Backs would serve as little more than a speed bump en route to the World Series. But then bad things started to happen.

Zack Wheeler put them in good position, but Aaron Nola couldn’t finish the job. For the first time ever, the Philadelphia Phillies would be in a playoff game seven. The fans were ready, but the team was not. The Phillies fell, and the Diamondbacks moved on.

November

It was fun to speculate over potential moves the Phillies could make in the offseason, but the biggest move turned out to be keeping Aaron Nola in red pinstripes for the near future.

Championship Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Six
Aaron Nola isn’t going anywhere.
Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

December

Despite the Winter Meetings, it’s been a slow month as far as Phillies news goes. They announced an extension for manager Rob Thomson, but aside from that, there’s been little to do but speculate on potential trades.

There was some excitement about the arrival of Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and which team he would end up on. (Maybe even the Phillies!) But in the end, Yamamoto headed to Los Angeles, and the Phillies were forced to consider other options to help the team.

Ah, but December wasn’t a total waste! With this post, I will have met my lofty goal of posting something new every day in December. I definitely sacrificed quality for quantity a couple times (Looking at you, badly rushed Gabe Kapler article!) but I think I mixed in some good ones along the way.

I hope you enjoyed reading everything, and either way, it gave me something to do this month besides bombard the TGP Slack channel with festive holiday songs!

Happy New Year and here’s to an even better 2024!