Coming into the 2023 offseason, it seemed the main priorities for the Phillies were to resign Aaron Nola, explore potential trades for an outfielder/bench options, look into extending Wheeler, build up AAA with Rule 5 options/spring training invites, and add to the bullpen. Of course, we as fans want them to sign the major free agents; Blake Snell, Yamamoto, Josh Hader’s of the world. Phillies started the offseason with a bang, inking Nola to a new contract as well as locking in Topper for another season, wetting the beak for fans hoping for another offseason splurge. And after leaving the Winter Meetings with no major moves, it seems Dave is content with how this team looks. Although the fan base wants the team to make splash moves, spending 100’s of millions in the last few off-season’s, it doesn’t seem to fit the way this team is currently built. Dave Dombrowski sat down recently with Todd Zolecki to discuss the team’s offseason. “Today, I could have made a trade,” said Dombrowski, per Zolecki. “Somebody would have said, ‘Jeez, that’s a good trade.’ I could have traded [Orion] Kerkering for somebody like that today. I said, ‘I don’t really want to do that.’ Because, if we’re going to have all these Allstar players, we also have to have some young players that are not making a lot of money.”

With the Phillies up against the luxury tax, it seems the team will want to continue monitoring the growth of Bryson Stott, Alec Bohm, Brandon Marsh, and Johan Rojas, and will look to make smaller moves to deepen their depth. Dave must prioritize the youth that we have, hoping to strike gold, especially with a team full of long multi-year players that will have this team against the luxury tax for the next half decade. With that said, this team still has some needs to help the roster and propel the team back to the playoffs where they belong. 3 players I think would be a great addition to the Phillies would be the following:

Jordan Hicks:

Jordan Hicks is one of the top free agent relievers the Phillies should consider signing this winter. Closer Josh Hader will likely surpass Edwin Diaz’s highest closer deal with the New York Mets. Philadelphia has been notorious for adding hard-throwing pitchers that attack hitters and that’s exactly what Hicks would bring. Adding Hicks would give the Phillies two hard-throwing relievers, matching him with Jose Alvarado, that can attack right and left handed hitters and Alvarado. Hicks has previous experience as a closer, as he has converted 32 of 44 save opportunities in his five years career. Also, when with St. Louis Cardinals, he threw a 105 mph pitch against our Philadelphia Phillies in 2018. Imagine the Bank going crazy for 104+ on the radar gun.

Tommy Pham:

Dombrowski mentioned that outfielder Rojas must earn the starting job to begin the 2024 regular season with the Phillies. Following his disappointing offensive performance last postseason, with a line of .093/.114/.163 in 13 playoff games, the 23-year-old needs to make the necessary adjustments to become an improved hitter next season. Philadelphia will consider adding a veteran outfielder on a one-year deal for depth purposes and has been linked to multiple players including Alex Verdugo, who was recently traded to the Yankees (who this writer thinks Dave Dombrowski was referring to in his quoted trade about moving Kerkering). Tommy Pham would be the perfect fit. Phillies fans may remember Pham from his time with the NY Trashcans and most recently against us in the NLCS with the Diamondbacks. Pham is coming off a strong 2023 where he slashed .256/.328/.446 with an above average walk rate (9.8%) and a below average strikeout rate (22%). He can play all three outfield positions and would give much needed pop off the bench, allowing Topper to mix and match the lineup. He hits the ball hard with an an average exit velo of 92.3 mph and doesn’t chase a lot.

Whit Merrifield:

It seems like Philadelphia has been linked to Whit Merrifield for years and for good reason. Merrifield, a 34-year-old three-time All-Star, would bring positional flexibility, speed on the base paths, and a good approach at the plate. He has the ability to play all 3 outfield spots as well as all over the infield diamond He doesn’t hit the ball hard but hits for average. He posted a .272/.318/.382 slash line for the Blue Jays last season, with 11 home runs. Whit would be the perfect veteran presence to help the growth of Bryson Stott. His low strikeout rate (17.1%) ranks in the 81st percentile of all MLB hitters and whiff rate (19.5%) ranks in the 82nd percentile.

Whit may be unrealistic due to looking for a starting job, however, he is coming up towards the latter part of his career and joining a contending team like the Phillies could be very appealing for someone like him.

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