3 Phillies players the organization has too much faith in right now

The Phillies should find more suitable options for specific roles with the club and need to clear up a vital situation in the bullpen before the start of the regular season.

Philadelphia Phillies starter Taijuan Walker
Philadelphia Phillies starter Taijuan Walker / Adam Hunger/GettyImages
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Taijuan Walker

Starting pitcher Taijuan Walker had an up-and-down first season with Philadelphia in 2023. He went 15-6 and had an ERA of 4.38 in 31 starts. He finished with 138 strikeouts and a 1.31 WHIP. During June, he finished with a 1.50 ERA, 34 strikeouts, and a 5-1 record making it his best month of the season.

Walker seems to have difficulty with his location, as his 71 walks last season were a new career-high for him. The case can be made that he is the Phillies' fifth starter in the rotation based on how last year ended for him with the organization.

Thomson, in a surprise move, didn't use Walker for a starting or a relief appearance during Philadelphia's 13 playoff games last season. The Shreveport, Louisiana native was rightly upset with the decision.

While last year is history, what will the right-hander's role be for the Phillies in 2024? Will he remain with the organization for the duration of the regular season? Should the franchise reach the postseason and if all the starters are healthy, will Thomson shy away from using Walker again if his performance this year is akin to last season? There is no doubt that walks are a concern for the 31-year-old, thus resulting in higher pitch counts and the inability to pitch deep into games.

Being in a situation where Thomson decides against using Walker during the playoffs again is best avoided for the organization. The manager's decision not to use him at all says a lot about his role on the team.

Walker can be depended upon as a fourth or fifth starter for the Phillies, but not much beyond that. Could Philly add a starter via free agency during training camp? While it's not a necessity, considering their rotation is solid, there are better options, such as Jordan Montgomery, who could make the Phillies' starting five even more superior to the rest of the league.