3 Former Phillies players we'll be glad are gone, and 2 we'll wish stayed
By Matt Rappa
The 2023 Phillies roster has a new look compared to the 2022 National League championship squad.
The Philadelphia Phillies roster is all but finalized heading into their 141st season in franchise history, with the club making several transactions on Monday that solidified their rotation and bench.
Glancing at the roster, some players are unfortunately absent due to signing elsewhere in the offseason. On the other hand, fans will be glad about other players who will no longer don red pinstripes moving forward. Among these players includes bullpen arms Sam Coonrod, Brad Hand, and Corey Knebel.
Back in February, the division-rival New York Mets claimed Coonrod off waivers after the Phillies designated the right-hander for assignment. It appears Coonrod will miss the start of the season after being diagnosed with a high-grade lat strain earlier this month.
Once acquired in exchange for one of the Phillies' few 2020 draft picks, the hard-throwing reliever never fully lived up to his potential in Philadelphia. Combined between the 2021 and 2022 seasons, Coonrod went 2-2 with a 4.91 ERA, 1.364 WHIP, and a 60-22 strikeouts-to-walks ratio spanning 55 innings. He was limited to just 12 appearances and a 7.82 ERA last season.
Earlier this month, Hand signed a one-year, $2 million deal with a $7 million club option for 2024 with the Colorado Rockies. He will receive another $1 million if he makes the Rockies' Opening Day roster, which now seems likely.
While Hand made 55 appearances for the Phillies last season and sported a 2.80 ERA, those numbers can seem deceiving. His 1.333 WHIP and 38-23 strikeouts-to-walks ratio spanning 45 innings paint a better picture. Hand did throw 2 2/3 scoreless innings in the NLDS and two scoreless innings in the World Series, however. In the NLCS, the left-hander surrendered three hits, three runs, a walk, and a home run spanning just one inning and eight batters faced.
Knebel was touted as the next-best Phillies closer but ended up blowing four saves across 16 opportunities in red pinstripes last season. Similar to Hand, the veteran's 3.43 ERA was not awful, however, he also posted a 1.366 WHIP and 41-28 strikeouts-to-walks ratio across 44 2/3 innings. In late August, Knebel was diagnosed with a torn capsule in his right shoulder and did not pitch again for the remainder of the season. He remains a free agent with the season just days away.
The Phillies essentially replaced Coonrod, Hand, and Knebel with Craig Kimbrel, Gregory Soto, and Yunior Marte, among others. On paper, it seems like an upgrade.
While we won't miss the trio of former Phillies relievers, here are two players we wished still were a part of the team.