The Philadelphia Phillies won the National League in 2022 and -- after winning three more regular-season games -- fell short in Game 7 of the NLCS this past season. To make two straight NLCS shows the Phillies are a formidable ballclub right now, but they still haven't had more than 90 wins in a season since 2011.
That means another busy offseason for Dave Dombrowksi and company as they look to build a powerhouse.
The most important item of the offseason has already been checked off the list. Frontline starting pitcher Aaron Nola .
There have also been rumors of the Phillies possibly trading Nick Castellanos, but I just don't see that happening with three years and $60 million left on his deal. Perhaps they'd deal Alec Bohm and then try to sign a third baseman like Justin Turner, which would be a short-term move, but they are in a win-now situation. Still, I feel like they'll mostly run it back on offense, especially considering circumstances like starting last year without Bryce Harper and how dreadful Trea Turner was until early August. JT Realmuto had a down year, too. In spite of all that, the Phillies were third in the NL in OPS and fourth in runs.
With those things in mind, here are some more move the Phillies can make this offseason in order to improve their ballclub for 2024.
1. Sign Yamamoto
is headed stateside for next season . In bringing back Nola, it might seem like the Phillies have a full rotation, but there's always room for a Yamamoto type.
Keep in mind also that the Phillies essentially used a bullpen game in the NLCS behind starter Christopher Sánchez. If the ultimate goal is winning the World Series, not having to use a bullpen game in the playoffs is a good way to avoid bullpen issues in the series. The Phillies' inability to score runs in the last two games of the NLCS cost them the series, sure, but also remember bullpen issues cost them Games 3 and 4. With another stud starting pitcher in the mix, perhaps the bullpen shakes out better for Rob Thomson.
Yamamoto fits the bill. He was 17-6 with a 1.16 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 176 strikeouts in 171 innings last season in Japan. He's only 25 years old, too.
This move would give the Phillies one of the best rotations in the league and sets them up nicely for a deep playoff run.
2. Grab a late-inning reliever
The Phillies had a collection of power arms in the bullpen last season and they'll have José Alvarado, Jeff Hoffman, Gregory Soto, Seranthony Domínguez and some others back. It has the look of a potentially stellar bullpen. Craig Kimbrel is a free agent and there's a bit of a void left. Kimbrel is pretty maligned at this point, but he did provide 69 regular-season innings of work and was productive enough to amass 1.8 WAR.
Lefty Josh Hader is a free agent, but the Phillies do not seem like the ideal fit here, as Hader basically requires that he only pitches in the ninth inning and Thomson likes more flexibility. Plus, after re-signing Nola and likely trying to make a run at Yamamoto, money could be an issue.
And what about a Liam Hendriks lottery ticket?
3. Sign a utility player
The Phillies' position players seem pretty well set. They'll DH Schwarber while playing Realmuto behind the plate, Harper at first, Bryson Stott at second, Trea Turner at short, Alec Bohm at third and Brandon Marsh, Johan Rojas and Nick Castellanos around the outfield. Their bench, at this point, isn't one of the stronger aspects of the team. It couldn't hurt to have someone who can fill in late in right field for Castellanos and who can also handle second and third base, on occasion, to spell Bohm and Stott when the matchups warrant it.
Perhaps Whit Merrifield or Adam Frazier fit the bill. Eduardo Escobar was awful last season, but he was productive for a few years before that and could still thrive in such a role. The same could be said for Jean Segura, who was with the Phillies from 2019-2022.