3 Phillies players who have to step up before season spirals

It's early in the 2024 regular season, but these three Phillies players need to step up to help the club start winning consistently.
Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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Whit Merrifield

Utility player Whit Merrifield represented one of the few notable additions the Phillies made during the offseason. His defensive versatility and experience made the signing look like it would be a positive one for Philly and it still might. After all, the season is only a week old. The 35-year-old made the All-Star game last year with the Toronto Blue Jays so he can still contribute significantly to Philadelphia.

Manager Rob Thomson explained to him he would have a reserve role with the team. Merrifield understood his role but responded to the Phillies manager during their conversation, “But I’m going to play well enough to get more at-bats.”

Merrifield was one of the Phillies' best offensive players during spring training. However, in four regular season contests, he has not built upon that success. The native of Florence, South Carolina, is 2-for-14 with a .143/.250/.143 stat line and an OPS of .393.

His ability to play in left field and at multiple positions in the infield will be a useful option for Thomson to give the starters a day off or in case of an injury. Merrifield is another experienced player who can serve as a veteran presence for some of the younger infielders and outfielders on the Phillies roster this year.

If the utility player gets going offensively, then this looks like a sneaky good addition by the front office. If he continues to be erratic at the plate, Philadelphia's bench does not look as strong as it did entering the regular season.