The Philadelphia Phillies fell short of their goal of winning the World Series in 2023 by losing in embarrassing fashion in the NLCS. The Phillies were heavy favorites against an 84-win Diamondbacks team and even had a 2-0 series lead before losing four of the next five games including two at home and watching Arizona celebrate at Citizens Bank Park.
The biggest reason the Phillies failed to win another NL Pennant was because their stars fell flat on their faces. That's rather obvious. Trea Turner, Nick Castellanos, and even Bryce Harper no-showed in Game 7 after Aaron Nola's rough Game 6 start forced them to even play in the winner-take-all game.
While the stars failed to execute, this was an imperfect team Rob Thomson was managing. There were several mistakes made in 2023 by Dave Dombrowski and the Phillies front office that wound up holding them back in the long run.
The Michael Lorenzen trade turned out to be a disaster
The big trade the Phillies made at the trade deadline was the deal that netted them Michael Lorenzen from the Tigers. At the time, this felt like a logical add. Lorenzen had an All-Star first half for Detroit, and the Phillies got him when he was at his peak.
The trade looked even better after two dominant starts for Lorenzen to begin his Phillies career, including a no-hitter. Unfortunately, the right-hander had a 7.96 ERA in his next five starts and was bumped from the rotation entirely. Lorenzen was put into the bullpen and was used in low-leverage spots when games were out of reach.
The Phillies traded one of their top prospects, Hao-Yu Lee, in order to get Lorenzen. Instead of acquiring a guy who'd become a replaceable reliever, they could've gotten a difference-maker like Jordan Montgomery from the Rangers.
The Phillies had two starters they were comfortable with in Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola. Ranger Suárez is a pitcher they were somewhat comfortable with, but he only went past five innings once in his four postseason starts. After that, between Taijuan Walker, Cristopher Sánchez, and Lorenzen, there wasn't much there.
What we thought was a deep rotation turned out to be anything but, and a big reason for that was the Lorenzen deal.