The Philadelphia Phillies were one of 19 MLB teams that did not select anyone in…
Major League Baseball is BUZZING right now as rumors are swirling in free agency. The Philadelphia Phillies are expected to make more than a few free agent signings while also being rumored to active in the trade market. Let’s get into it.
Nick Castellanos Trade Block Rumors
Listen, it’s hard to put much weight behind Nick Castellanos being on the “trading block” based on a report from one person that was basically an assumption.
Of course the Philadelphia Phillies are going to be listening to offers for Nick Castellanos. He’s really the only offensive player outside of Brandon Marsh and/or Johan Rojas that the organization should be open to trading. Everyone else stays.
Here’s the issue with the Phillies’ that we saw throughout the entirety of last season and the postseason. The entire lineup is filled with inconsistency with Nick Castellanos being the biggest of the bunch.
I wasn’t even shocked about what happened in Game 6 and Game 7 when because we witnessed the same exact thing unfold countless times during the regular season.
Castellanos went 0-23 with 11 strikeouts after hitting a home run off Zac Gallen in Game 1 of the NLCS. Bryce Harper and Trea Turner combined to go 4-for-35 after Game 2 of the NLCS. In the deciding Game 7, the Phillies were just 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, which was yet another inconsistency that haunted them throughout the 2023 regular season.
Point being, in 2024 the Phillies need to add a one or two rock solid hitters at the plate. If that means sending Nick Castellanos out of Philly then so be it, and to be clear, I have been a supporter of Casty since he told everyone he didnt have a college degree and just hits baseballs upon arrival in Clearwater for Spring Training.
Mike Trout Trade, Cody Bellinger, Juan Soto, Shohei Ohtani..?
I’m still holding out hope we can take Mike Trout from the Angels and send Nick out there to join fellow exiled Phillies player Mickey Moniak. Nick Castellanos, Johan Rojas, and a few pitching prospects (Griff McGarry) to at least start the conversation on getting Mike Trout to Philadelphia.
Juan Soto seems unlikely since he’s going to cost you Nick Castellanos and the entire Phillies’ farm system. If John Middleton wants to go nuclear, he could empty the bank and farm to get involved with the Ohtani or Soto sweepstakes but that seems unlikely.
Cody Bellinger is going to cost you an arm and leg too and is considered the best free agent outside of Ohtani. I would love Cody Bellinger in a Phillies uniform but given the cost and a somewhat crowded outfield the way the Phillies are constructed, I don’t see that happening unless Castellanos is on the move for other pieces.
Position Player Wishlist: Casty trade, Mike Trout or Cody Bellinger
Thank you for your service, Rhys Hoskins
Earlier this week, Dave Dombrowski announced that Bryce Harper would be the Phillies’ first baseman of the future. Uncle Dave spoke with Harper about playing either left field or first base moving forward and of course, Harper stated that he would play either position.
The decision reportedly came down to Dombrowski, and they are now moving forward with Harper at first meaning that Rhys Hoskins’ tenure in Philadelphia has almost certainly come to an end.
Obviously, this makes the most sense for the Phillies. You keep Harper at first base and Kyle Schwarber, a known defensive liability, in the designated hitter spot. Given the way the roster is currently constructed, that leaves Brandon Marsh, Cristian Pache, and Johan Rojas as outfielders with Nick Castellanos.
Harper, who mentioned on several occasions when he first arrived in Philly that Rhys Hoskins was one of the reasons why, is now taking his best buddy’s position. That must have been a hard decision to come to but in the end, it’s what’s best for the team and Harper’s health moving forward.
Aaron Nola Price Too High?
With each passing day, it appears to be less likely that Aaron Nola will be returning to the Philadelphia Phillies on a new contract in 2024. That also sucks.
Along with Hoskins, Aaron Nola is a certified Philadelphia Phillies player. He’s home grown talent and losing both him and Hoskins is a tough pill to swallow for sure.
The issue here is that the Phillies will ultimately get outbid in the Nola Sweepstakes. There are several reports that Nola could receive a long term contract to the tune of 7-years, $200 million which is something that I highly doubt the Phillies would match.
Where do the Phillies turn if Nola walks?
One of the first options would be Minnesota Twins pitcher Sonny Gray, who played college ball with Phillies’ pitching coach Caleb Cotham while also working together during Gray’s time with the Cincinnati Reds.
Sonny Gray Last 2 Seasons in Minnesota
- 2022: 24 starts, 119.2 innings pitched, 3.08 ERA, 1.13 WHIP
- 2023: 32 starts, 184 innings pitched, 2.79 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
Pretty damn good if you ask me. The caveat here is the number of years on the contract. Gray is already 34 years old and has quite a bit of work on him already.
If the Phillies are targeting Gray, they are most likely looking at a 4-year contract around $90 million. He’ll cost less and give the team an opportunity to sign another sought-after starting pitcher in free agency. If the Phillies can pull a 2-for-1 type move like they did with Schwarber and Castellanos, then I would be willing to look away from Nola for good.
Blake Snell Seems Unlikely
That brings us to Blake Snell, who’s the current favorite to win the 2023 NL Cy Young Award. The Phillies have reportedly been interested but that seems unlikely since the price tag will be around 5-years, $200 million.
So How About Marcus Stroman?
The Phillies could also target Marcus Stroman from the Chicago Cubs. Stroman could be a a part of the “2-for-1” option I mentioned above with a projected contract around 4-years, $110 million.
- 2023 Stats: 85.2 IP, 2.42 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 7.7 K/9
Lucas Giolito Revival?
2023 was not kind to Lucas Giolito. He started the season with an abdominal injury on Opening Day and missed the first two weeks of the season. He then got COVID (yes, in 2023) three weeks later and struggled really until September to notch any type of solid starts. Giolito ended up with a 4.90 ERA after three consecutive years with a sub-3.60 ERA and AL Cy Young votes.
2023 Stats: 81.1 IP, 3.54 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 9.3 K/9
A Wild Card Option That NEEDS to be Considered
Trevor Bauer should be in a Philadelphia Phillies uniform in 2024.
Listen, I know that’s a name a lot of baseball fans are still concerned over given his suspension from Major League Baseball over sexual assault accusations, but at the end of the day, Bauer has provided some pretty significant evidence to prove his innocence.
You can do your own research to form or change your opinion. I have, and I’m willing to side with Bauer.
Last March, Bauer signed a one-year, $4MM contract with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. He posted a 2.76 ERA through 130 2/3 innings while striking out 24.3% of opposing hitters. With that one-year deal complete, he is again a free agent and eligible to return to Major League Baseball.
This is a cheap option for a proven MLB pitcher that has the potential to be a No. 2 starter behind Zack Wheeler. Period.
Starting Rotation Wishlist: Wheeler, Gray, Bauer, Suarez, Walker
Bring Me Josh Hader
The Phillies are going to need a closer in 2024 and given how the Craig Kimbrel revival ultimately finished, it’s of the upmost importance to bring in someone who still “has it” in 2024 to solidify the bullpen. That man is Josh Hader, who’s expected to get around a 5-year, $100 million contract.
2023 Stats: 25.1 IP, 15 saves, 1.42 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 12.1 K/9