From November until MLB Spring Training opens, baseball fans are left with entertaining themselves with videos of big home runs, diving catches, and essays that 50 percent of the time could be called “If I were the Philadelphia Phillies GM” or its analog for another team.
Another rough 45 percent is reporting rumors about trades and signings.
Today, with Trea Turner now the Phillies shortstop and Taijuan Walker a newly added starter, we will steer into the remaining five percent because, basically, that’s more fun than reporting rumors and pretending to spend someone else’s money.
Have the Philadelphia Phillies won the offseason, or is another step needed?
That remaining five percent of offseason baseball writing involves determining who “won” or “is winning” the team reconstruction phase of the MLB business.
In all honesty, when this piece was started, it was going to be about another suggestion for Phillies president Dave Dombrowski, for his bullpen specifically. However, as the Winter Meetings chugged along with Walker signing with the South Philly Nine, and the Phillies reportedly close to signing reliever Matt Strahm, what you’re reading became a celebration piece.
Has Dave Dombrowski won the offseason already?
Whoa. Isn’t it a bit early for that declaration? Maybe, maybe not. With the Yankees signing Aaron Judge, they are arguably situated to overtake the Phillies in this hypothetical race. Their projected starting shortstop for 2023 at the moment is Isiah Kiner-Falefa, but there are still three All-Star shortstops available for the Bombers to sign.
But will they do that now that they’ve signed Judge for an average annual value of $40 million for nearly a decade? This requires deep reflection, it would seem.
The Mets have signed Justin Verlander, but seem quite unlikely to replace Francisco Lindor at short. Perhaps they will sign a truly eye-opening designated hitter or third baseman, but who would that be? Would they give either of those roles to Elvis Andrus? Or Justin Turner (at 38)?
How would Dombrowski ensure that the Phillies win the offseason and truly set themselves up as a more dangerous team than they are right now. “Lower-priced” suggestions have been made about bullpen additions, but what if Dombrowski traded for a fairly big, young piece for the bullpen?
I guess we actually are spending someone else’s assets now, but let’s say the pitcher targeted should be Jhoan Duran of the Twins.
Now, there’s nothing to say that Minnesota is ready to trade a young pitcher who has touched 103 mph, has a killer 12-to-six curve, and put up a 1.86 ERA (0.975 WHIP) in nearly 70 innings in his first season. However, is any player truly untouchable?
The Phillies near-untouchables in the minors should only be pitcher Andrew Painter and outfielder Johan Rojas, but they have at least one outfielder and a fine shortstop on the MLB roster who could be traded (Matt Vierling and Edmundo Sosa), as well as a promising infielder-outfielder (Nick Maton), and two other promising starters in MiLB (Mick Abel and Griff McGarry).
“No, no, no!” some Phillies fans are crying right now. “Keep them all!”
Are you sure you don’t want Duran? Maybe you need to take a look at some video. It might take three of the five players suggested above as tradeable.
But picking up a quality reliever like Jhoan Duran would be how the Phillies truly win the offseason.