Craig Kimbrel ($10M): C+. A de facto closer with this grade, for this much money, is not what you need in a playoff run, but that’s what the Phillies had, and it didn’t work out. His numbers were reasonable, although he blew 17.9 percent of his save situations during the regular season, and worst of all, gave up three earned runs in the pivotal Game 4 loss in the NLCS. It’s just not what the Phillies expected from a guy with 400-plus saves who still throws a 95-mph fastball.
Jose Alvarado ($3.4M+): A. Although the big left-handed fire-baller still has a few games that cause concern about wildness, it’s hard to argue with a 1.74 ERA, 1.161 WHIP, and 10 saves in the 12 games he finished. He also appeared in over a quarter of the games the Phillies played.
Seranthony Dominguez ($2.5M): B-. Seranthony somehow posted a 3.78 ERA in 57 appearances, but appeared to be battling wildness all season long. He was trusted to save only two games in the regular season, but straightened out for a 0.00 ERA in the postseason in six brief appearances (four holds).
Jeff Hoffman ($1.3M/$1.6M): A-. Signed as a free agent after the Twins signed him as a free agent, then released him in a month, Hoffman was another pleasant surprise, winning five games, losing two, and posting a 2.41 ERA and 0.917 WHIP. He appeared in 54 games and was one of the trusted relievers in the playoffs, going 1-1 (2.57 ERA).
Gregory Soto ($3.9M+): C+. Soto throws hard, and appeared in 69 games, improving his WHIP to 1.144 from last year’s 1.376 with Detroit, but somehow, with a 4.62 ERA (3.59 FIP), only inspired the Phillies to use him for three total innings spread out over five appearances in the postseason. His ERA then was 6.00.
Junior Marte ($725K+): D+. Marte was signed for his age-28 season, well, because somebody saw something, and he appeared in 40 games. His numbers were not good (e.g., 1.627 WHIP). He did save two games. He is not without promise in terms of an eye test, I guess.
Garrett Stubbs ($741K): B-. As the backup to one of baseball’s best catchers, Stubbs doesn’t get to play often, but he is one of the best bunters in baseball, and like the guy who kept him out of all but 41 games, a good baserunner, who happens to be faster to first base than Cedric Mullins and Steven Kwan.
Oh, and his batting average was seven points higher than Kyle Schwarber’s.
Edmundo Sosa ($950K): B. As an infielder who can play center field in a pinch, Sosa played in 104 games and hit .251, driving in 30, a career high. He is a very solid infielder.
Jake Cave ($950K): C. Although he is a capable defensive outfielder, Cave hit only .212, driving in 21.
Cristian Pache ($720K): B-. Pache, a lifetime .173 hitter at the end of the season, but a flashy backup outfielder, seems to have benefitted from some time with hitting coach Kevin Long. He hit .238 in 84 at-bats.
There are 27 players graded here, including one below this graf. The Phillies in 2023 included 15 other players who were paid for MLB contracts, but some have been excluded as marginal, and others for health reasons, such as Rhys Hoskins (knee surgery recovery, $12M) and Connor Brogdon (three weeks with COVID, halting his MLB appearances for the season in early June).
However, we must not forget one of the inspiring Phillies stories in an ultimately unsatisfying season for a very good team…
Orion Kerkering ($720K/$34.8K+): A. Young Orion Kerkering played for five teams in the Philadelphia Phillies organization this season, touching every possible level except Single-A-Rookie. He started with the Single-A Clearwater Threshers and rode a killer slider all the way to The Show. There he appeared in three regular season games and seven postseason contests. He pitched three regular season innings and gave up one earned run. In the postseason, he pitched 5.1 innings, booking a 3.38 ERA with a 3.07 FIP.
Only in Philadelphia.