The Phillies were big spenders at the MLB Winter Meetings.
When the Winter Meetings began in San Diego, it was pretty clear that the Philadelphia Phillies had three areas they wanted to address — shortstop, starting rotation, and bullpen. By the time the meetings ended on Wednesday, Phillies President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski had addressed all three.
Their biggest signing was bringing in shortstop Trea Turner for the next 11 years. The signing was their largest contract in terms of money and years since the club inked Bryce Harper before the 2019 season. The Phillies have found a reliable, long-term shortstop to pair with Bryson Stott — who will move to second base — for the foreseeable future.
The Phillies’ front office added Taijuan Walker to essentially replace Kyle Gibson in the rotation. Walker spent the last two seasons with the New York Mets and had a significantly better 2022 season. The 30-year-old right-hander had a 4.47 ERA in 2021, but lowered his ERA to 3.49 this past season. Walker joined the club on a four-year, $72 million contract. With a rotation of Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, Ranger Suárez, and Walker, the Phillies’ top four starters are undoubtedly improved.
The Phillies also boosted their bullpen by signing left-handed reliever Matt Strahm to a two-year $15 million deal. Strahm will replace Brad Hand as the second southpaw in the bullpen. Strahm had a 3.83 ERA with the Boston Red Sox in 2022. While the ERA may seem high, he had a 10.5 K/9 ratio and a 3.06 K/BB ratio. Both suggest that his “stuff” is better than his ERA indicates.
The team closed out the Winter Meetings by selecting right-handed pitcher Noah Song in the Rule 5 Draft. This move is interesting since he is currently on active duty in the United States Navy, but has received plenty of compliments for his pitching. Song will not take up a 40-man roster spot since he is on the military list, but would need to remain in the majors with the Phillies when reactivated.
All in all, the Phils’ front office had a highly successful few days in San Diego. Many of the team’s needs were addressed.
There is still plenty of time before Opening Day and the club may not yet be finished completing its 2023 roster. Nonetheless, its Winter Meetings activity was a very good start to a busy offseason.