December 2, 2023

Phillies Offseason Buzz Begins


Photo via Yong Kim of the Philadelphia Inquirer

Fresh off back-to-back late playoff runs ending in elimination, it has become clear for this organization that the goal is to ultimately win one or more world championships in the next decade.

Only two weeks into the season the Phillies have been linked to star players, made some secondary moves, and sparked rumors after applying their qualifying offers to only Aaron Nola among four players. Here is everything you need to know so far about the Phillies offseason.

Qualifying Offers

The Phillies have made it apparent the only free-agent player they have priority for is Starting Pitcher Aaron Nola. He is the only one of four Phillies who received a $20.325M qualifying offer from the ball club. If Nola decides to sign elsewhere the Phillies will receive a fourth-round draft pick due to his departure.

The remaining three Phillies who did not receive an offer include Rhys Hoskins, Craig Kimbrel, and Michael Lorenzen.

Hoskins, who did not play this season due to a torn ACL during spring training, is obviously a fan and city favorite, but will not receive a qualifying offer allowing him to look at other ball club’s offers.

Kimbrel and Lorenzen both had their share of struggles after the All-Star break. Many point the finger at Kimbrel and our Game 3 and 4 losses to Arizona in the NLCS loss while Lorenzen, who threw a no-hitter in August, fell out of the starting rotation as we neared playoff competition.

With those three names seemingly off the roster for good, the Phillies look to bolster their rotation and bullpen for the 2024 season. It is worth noting that numerous rumors have circulated that many GMs believe they will choose to let Nola walk if he receives a deal to hefty and go after former Padres left-hander Blake Snell. Snell, who is a Cy Young hopeful this year, would bring a different vibe of a pitcher into Nola’s spot, with a higher strikeout rate, and an increase in breaking balls, but the inability to go long distances in games, something Nola struggles with throughout this season.

New Acquisitions

As I mentioned their goal is to boost their pitching immediately, and they did that in the first few weeks of the offseason.

The Phillies began adding to their bullpen by acquiring two pitchers, one from waivers and one via trade. First, the Phillies acquired pitcher Josh Fleming off waivers, who was placed there by the Tampa Bay Rays this weekend. A former fifth-round pick by the Rays in 2017, the left-hander is an off-speed type of pitcher who looks to add depth to the Phillies bullpen rotation and provide another left-handed weapon from the pen.

Another acquisition came in the form of a trade, as the Phils received a right-handed pitcher Michael Mercado from the Tampa Bay Rays for pitcher Adam Leverett and cash considerations. Mercado is also a 2017 draft pick of the Rays, coming in the second round, and he did not pitch professionally until 2021 due to a slew of injuries as well as the COVID-19 pandemic. Both pitchers the Phils have acquired have had injury history, but the goal remains clear to bolster the bullpen for any voids they have had the last few seasons and to form a more complete bullpen for late postseason runs.

Shohei Ohtani

The sweepstakes has officially begun.

Shohei Ohtani, set to become the highest-paid player in the history of baseball has been linked to the Phillies. Certainly, other teams have their forks on the plate, as Jim Bowden’s article he wrote for The Athletic included at least 8 other teams that could be of high interest in this one-in-a-lifetime player.

The Phillies wouldn’t be the best fit, and it would increase what is already set to be the highest payroll in the MLB next year even more.

Also, our pitching issues would presumably still be a problem, but the most prolific lineup of hitters in today’s game would form if Shohei chose to play in Philadelphia.

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