Following a World Series appearance, the Philadelphia Phillies are back in postseason contention in 2023. Things haven't gone quite as smoothly as expected as the team started out very slowly once again, but following their double header sweep against the Padres, they're 50-42 on the season and just one game back of the third Wild Card spot.
Being in contention is great and all, but the Phillies were expected to do more than that. The NL East seemed reachable, and certainly, you felt this team would sit comfortably in a Wild Card spot having improved this offseason with the additions they made.
Now as we sit in mid-July, it's fair to look back at this past offseason and think about moves Dave Dombrowski should have made that would've put this team in a better position to bring Red October back once again.
1) The Phillies wish they re-signed Zach Eflin last offseason
Hindsight is 20/20, but bringing Zach Eflin back would've made sense even before this breakout. Despite some durability issues, Eflin was always rock solid at the back end of the Phillies rotation.
From 2019-2022, the right-hander had a 4.10 ERA in 81 games (69 starts) and 403.2 innings pitched. He got his groundballs when he needed them, didn't walk many, and didn't have many awful starts. He wasn't an ace or anything, but he always did a decent job keeping the Phillies in games.
Eflin signed a three-year deal worth $40 million to join the Rays this past offseason. Now, I get that it's the Rays, but he's had a career year. The 29-year-old has a 3.59 ERA in 18 starts this season for the Rays, and had an argument to be an American League All-Star.
I'm not going to sit here and tell you he would've been a borderline all-star if he stayed with the Phillies, but I will tell you he'd be a better option than Bailey Falter or even despite how well he's pitched, Cristopher Sanchez. The fifth starter spot is something the Phillies will have to address at the deadline, and they wouldn't have had they brought Eflin back. Plus, he's an awesome guy to root for.