The Phillies quest to repeat as NL Champs and avenge a World Series loss is set to begin in Clearwater Florida. The Phillies in 2022 had high expectations, but after a slow start it was looking very likely that the playoff draught would continue. After a managerial change, the Phillies went on an improbable run that came to an end in the World Series.
It is time to look ahead to the 2023 season for the Phillies. John Middleton and Dave Dombrowski have made it clear, they are going to spend money to win a World Series and they want to win NOW! They added more talent to a talented roster. Let's take a look at the 2023 Phillies.
Departures Via Free Agency
Corey Knebel: Still a free agent
Kyle Gibson: 1 year $10 million contract with the Baltimore Orioles
David Robertson: 1 year $10 million contract with the New York Mets
Noah Syndergaard: 1 year $13 million contract with the Los Angelas Dodgers
Brad Hand: Still a free agent
Zach Eflin: 3-year $40 million contract with the Baltimore Orioles
Jean Segura: 2 years $17 million contract with the Miami Marlins
Additions Via Free Agency
Jake Cave: Claimed off waivers from the Minnesota Twins
Matt Straham: 2 years $15 million contract
Josh Harrison: 1 year $2 million contract
Craig Kimbrel: 1 year $13 million contract
Taijuan Walker: 4 years $72 million contract
Trea Turner: 11 years $300 million contract
San Francisco receives: Erik Miller (LHP)
Philadelphia receives: Yunior Marte (RHP)
Detroit receives: Matt Vierling (OF), Nick Maton (Utility), and Donny Sands (C)
Philadelphia receives: Gregory Soto (RP) and Kody Clemens (IF)
The 2023 Phillies roster will look a little different. Once again has added another superstar to the team. By adding Trea Turner to the roster, they have now added the best SS in baseball. One of the biggest weaknesses for the Phillies in 2022 was the pitching. They added Taijuan Walker to the rotation and 2x All-star Gregory Soto to the bullpen.
The addition of Trea Turner is a huge boost to the top of the lineup. Kyle Schwarber was not your stereotypical leadoff hitter in 2022. He led the NL in homeruns, but also led the NL in strikeouts. Even though Schwarber was above the league average in on base percentage, Turner ranked higher in on base percentage, batting average and had 27 stolen bases in 2022. The Phillies have added a top tier leadoff hitter to the lineup. As great it was to see all of Schwarber's homeruns last year (especially in the playoffs,) one Achillies heal they had was the lack of baserunners on homeruns. His HR's may go down, but I bet Schwarber has more RBI's in 2023.
The Phillies pitching was all over the place in 2022. Aaron Nola finished 4th in the NL Cy Young voting and Wheeler finished top 3 in 2021. The Phillies had so many question marks from the rest of their pitching rotation. Adding Walker helps give them another arm to add to the rotation of Nola, Wheeler, and Ranger Suarez.
The Phillies bullpen has been awful in recent years. During the second half of the season and the playoffs, they finally stepped up. Adding a top tier relief pitcher will hopefully keep more leads safe and will take some pressure off the starters late in games. Seranthony Domguiez and Jose Alvarado just earned extensions after a great postseason, let's hope they continue that stellar performance from 2022.
The roster will look very similar to 2022, but a team can always improve. Middleton and Dombrowski saw the weaknesses from 2022 and went out and improved those areas. I'd say this was an A+ off-season!
Full season of Philly Rob
On June 3rd, 2022, the Phillies saved their season by making a change at the manager position. The Phillies fired Joe Girardi and named Rob Thompson the Interim Manager. Thompson has been on the coaching staff for an MLB team since 1988. He was a longtime member of the Yankees organization and was the 3rd base coach of the 2009 World Series Champion New York Yankees. After so many years he finally got his opportunity in the big chair with the Phillies.
In his first opportunity as an MLB manager, Thompson took full advantage of it. He went 65-46, led the Phillies to the World Series, and signed an extension to remain the Phillies manager. Now headed into 2023, this will be Thompson's first full season as the Phillies manager.
Throughout the playoffs when asked about what Philly Rob brings to the clubhouse, all the players continue to praise him and credit him for the remarkable season. Thompson was fantastic at bringing the best out of his players, and the entire clubhouse loved playing for him.
The core of the rest of the Phillies' coaching staff is returning in 2023. Third base coach Dusty Watham had interviewed for many open managerial positions but opted to sign an extension to remain with the Phillies. Hitting coach Kevin Long is also back with the Phillies and is reunited with Trea Turner who spent time together in Washington.
It is no question that the hero of the 2022 Postseason for the Phillies was DH Bryce Harper. His 8th inning homerun against the Padres in Game 5 of the NLCS has cemented his legacy in the city of Philadelphia. On June 25, 2022, Harper broke his hand after being hit by a pitch. He missed a good portion of the season but returned in August to help push the Phillies in the playoffs.
In November, it was announced that Harper had undergone a successful Tommy John surgery stemming from that June hand injury. It is expected that he could return to lineup as the DH around the All-star break and could return to RF by the end of the regular season.
The loss of Harper is huge to the Phillies lineup. He is one of the game's best hitters. He was an MVP in 2021, and the hero for the Phillies in the 2022 postseason. He batted .273 6 HR, and 13 RBIs in last season's postseason. Replacing Harper's production will be a tough test.
The signing of Josh Harrison makes it seem that he was brought in to be the DH in place of Bryce Harper. He batted .256, 7 HRs, 99 hits, and 27 RBIs in 2022 while playing for the Chicago White Sox. This is a huge step back from Harper.
Another name to keep an eye on as a possible DH is 27-year-old Darick Hall. In 41 games last season, Hall batted .250 with 9 HRs and 16 RBIs. He made his MLB debut last season and went between AAA and the majors throughout the year. He did well in his short time, and I expect him to stay up in the majors much more in 2023.
I will present another option for the DH position, Kyle Schwarber. The NL's homerun leader in 2022. He is not a strong fielder. Dalton Guthrie played well in the final month he was called up and is a much better fielder.
As for RF, Nick Castellanos will remain the starting RF and depending how he does defensively he could stay they even when Harper is ready to play the field.
This will be the first major decision of Rob Thompson's season. Finding the right fit for the DH position. There is flexibility, and that decision will be made this Spring.
The Phillies farm system over the years has not been a strong part. However, Andrew Painter is trying to change that narrative. 19-year-old Painter was named Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2022. He was a non-roster invitee to this year's spring training.
He is not expected to make the opening day roster, but a strong season in the minors could get him a call-up at some point. Painter is the future of the Phillies rotation. He is a name that fans should remember and keep an eye on while he is playing in AAA.
World Baseball Classic.
This year's spring training is going to be a little different. Many of the Phillies top players will not be staying in Clearwater very long. Below is a list of Phillies participating in this year's World Baseball Classic.
USA: JT Realmuto, Trea Turner, and Kyle Schwarber
Dominican Republic: Gregory Soto
Venezuela: Jose Alvarado and Ranger Suarez
Israel: Garrett Stubbs
Mexico: Taijuan Walker
**Bryce Harper was expected to play for Team USA but will not while he rehabs his hand injury.
All of these players have remained with the Phillies through their workouts and early spring training games. Every single MLB team is in a similar situation with players who are playing in this year's World Baseball Classic. It is just worth noting, we may not see the entire Phillies lineup/rotation until opening day.
Expected Opening Day Lineup and Starting Rotation
SS Trea Turner
C JT Realmuto
1B Rhys Hoskins
LF Kyle Schwarber
RF Nick Castellanos
3B Alec Bohm
2B Bryson Stott
DH Darick Hall
CF Brandon Marsh
The Phillies lineup has a balance of contact and power throughout the lineup. Turner leads off and is followed by Realmuto. Both have the ability to hit the ball out, but also keep the ball in play. Follow that up with 3 power hitters. This part of the lineup unlike last year will not rely on hitting the ball out but can settle for a sac fly or a ball hit into the gap.
The second half of the lineup is not as strong as the top half, but it has the same idea. I believe a strong spring could help Hall earn a spot on the opening day roster and could allow him to get the start at DH.
The top 4 on the pitching rotation are obvious. The only real question Thompson has it the order of the top 4. We saw throughout the playoffs; the Phillies used a 3-man rotation, and that 4th day was the bullpen game. They added a 4th starter, and they need that fifth starter during the regular season.
In 20 games (16 starts) Falter was 6-4 and 3.85 ERA. These are not great numbers, but the 25-year-old progressed so much throughout the season and a strong spring could earn him a spot on the opening day roster.
Painter will not be ready for opening day. He is still very strong and a bright future, but ultimately, he will start the season in AAA, but be ready because that MLB debut is around the corner!
Top 5 names to keep an eye on this Spring!
This is obvious. The Phillies top prospect at just 19. He has the potential to be on the Phillies pitching rotation at some point in 2023. I still expect him to start the season in AAA, but I don't believe he ends the season in AAA.
He is one of the players I believe is in contention for the opening day DH spot. He is a great fielder, but still needs to improve his hitting. Even if he does not win the DH spot, if he has a strong spring, Thompson could look to move Schwarber to DH and Guthrie to LF.
The 8x All-star, World Series Champion, 2x Reliver of the Year, and 4x saves leader is a Phillie. Kimbrel has struggled in his last two years with the White Sox and Dodgers. He will need to have an awful spring to not make the opening day roster, but hopefully we can start to see glimpses of vintage Kimbrel. It will be curious where he fits into the bullpen. I don't believe he is the closer, but he can still be an excellent set up man.
Stott had a great rookie season in 2022.He spent most games at SS last season. However, with the addition of Trea Turner, Stott is expected to move over to 2B. He played in 47 games at 2B in 2022. The big thing to watch for in Stott is that he is progressing from a great rookie season.
Abel is one of the Phillies young stars in the minors. He is not as strong as Painter, but in a few years, he could crack the Phillies rotation. He is getting the invite to Spring Training for the first time this season, so this will be our first opportunity to see him in an MLB setting.
Top 3 Things to Focus on this Spring.
1. The Youth
The Phillies finally have some top tier players in their farm system in Andrew Painter and Mick Abel. We can't expect them to have monster springs, but this is our first taste of seeing where their development is. Are they ready to make the opening day roster? Will we see them at Citizens Bank Park at all this year? Are they still a few years away? This will be our first taste of seeing them against MLB talent.
Even the young guys on the 25-man roster. Will we see guys like Alec Bohm, Byrson Stott, and Brandon Marsh take a step forward this spring. Bohm was a liability defensively; will we see improvement in that area? How will Stott perform as the everyday second baseman? Is Brandon Marsh going to step up at the plate?
2 Will the vets continue to progress?
The Phillies Road an incredible momentum run in the 2022 postseasons. Players like Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins got hot at the right time last year. Are they going to keep progressing this spring? Nick Castellanos struggled in his first season, will he be more disciplined while hitting?
3. Will Nola and Wheeler progress?
Nola and Wheeler both pitched great until the World Series. Both have been finalist for the Cy Young Award, will this be the year they take home the award.
There is a lot to keep an eye on for the 2023 Phillies during Spring Training. They have a very talented roster and have everything they need to repeat as NL Champs. Every spring, fans get super excited for the Phillies. Heading into 2023, this is the most excited I have ever been.
The expectation is to repeat as NL Champs. They fixed the weaknesses from last season. Replacing Bryce Harper will be almost impossible, but a strong first half of the season could make for a big Harper return.
There are many question marks headed into Spring Training. How will the Phillies prospects perform? Will the current starting lineup progress?
This team has the talent to do so, I will just say it. The Phillies should be the favorites to win the National League again!