2. Blake Snell
During his introductory press conference on Friday, new Phillies president Dave Dombrowski noted that the club has a star player in right field in Bryce Harper, and some other good players around him, such as “three good starting pitchers like we have at the top of the rotation.”
Having all four, according to Dombrowski, puts them in “pretty good shape to be competitive.”
The three pitchers Dombrowski is referring to include Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler — who just days before Dombrowski’s hire surfaced in trade rumors, before Managing Partner John Middleton quickly refuted them — and Zach Eflin. Beyond those three, who new Phillies pitching coach Caleb Cotham believes each are Cy Young contenders, the rotation is anything but certain.
Currently, there are two spots vacant in the rotation, in part due to Jake Arrieta entering free agency. With fellow Cy Young winner Blake Snell reportedly on the Tampa Bay Rays’ trade block, why not “reach for the stars” and immediately transform the team’s rotation?
The Phillies have top pitching prospect Spencer Howard, but he did not exactly live up to his potential in 2020. His career is still young, and perhaps Cotham is the right person to unlock his full potential. There is also Vince Velasquez in the mix, but it remains to be seen what role he will exactly have in 2020.
Across 11 starts in 2020, Snell went 4-2 with a 3.24 ERA and 1.200 WHIP; his best season came in 2018, going 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA en route to a Cy Young honor and top-9 MVP Award finish. The Phillies have not had a star-caliber left-handed starting pitcher since the days of Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee; those days just so happen to be the last time the team made the postseason. Perhaps Snell is a player worth pursuing for Dombrowski.