Will Dave Dombrowski add another Phillies starting pitcher this offseason?
The Philadelphia Phillies have taken care of their offseason business. The team addressed needs in moderate and large ways — with acquisitions at shortstop, starting pitchers, and relief pitchers.
Improving the shortstop and middle-to-back end rotation starters were priorities and they accomplished that by signing Trea Turner and Taijuan Walker. Most recently, they acquired left-handed closer Gregory Soto from the Detroit Tigers.
While the bullpen is all but filled out, the starting rotation is not as much. Walker’s addition makes him only the fourth starting pitcher on the 40-man roster who is guaranteed a big-league spot.
Should the Phillies add another veteran starting pitcher for depth? If acquired, they would likely pitch last in the rotation — competing with prospects Andrew Painter, Mick Abel, and Griff McGarry.
Painter is a popular pick for the fifth starter role. Only 19 years old, he is coming off a 2022 season where he tallied a record of 6-2 in 22 starts across two minor-league levels, 103 2/3 innings pitched, 1.56 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and 155 strikeouts.
Abel’s 2022 campaign was interesting — as it was up and down. The statistics reflect that message, as Abel had an 8-11 record in 23 starts, 3.90 ERA, 108 1/3 innings pitched, 1.32 WHIP, and 130 strikeouts.
The eldest of the trio, McGarry had an alright season — posting a 4-8 record in 19 starts, a 3.71 ERA, 87 1/3 innings pitched, 1.21 WHIP, and 130 strikeouts.
The Phillies have three options with upside but no major league experience. Staying in the minors, Bailey Falter and Cristopher Sánchez are also options with a decent sample size of innings pitched in the majors. Falter was impressive in the stretch run — after being called back up when the Phillies had injuries. He appeared in 20 games and 16 starts, posted a 6-4 record, 3.86 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and threw 84 innings and 74 strikeouts. Falter proved he can hold down the back end of the rotation. Sánchez is another competitive option, as he appeared in 15 games but only made three starts.
The Phillies then have the rest of the remaining free-agent starting pitchers to consider — such as Zack Greinke, Mike Minor, Michael Wacha, Dylan Bundy, Johnny Cueto, and Chris Archer, among others.
In my opinion — and by looking into available options for the Phillies’ fifth starting rotation spot — all evidence points to the answer to this question already being in the organization.