After the Philadelphia Phillies made their first biggest free agency move by re-signing team ace Aaron Nola to a long-term, seven-year contract in mid-November, things have been surprisingly quiet for a team that will be looking to be back stronger than ever for 2024.
To ensure they remain competitive with many of their rivals who have been upgrading their rosters in recent weeks, the Phillies need to stay active in the free agent market for some big-impact players to keep pace with their counterparts.
Here, we take a look at three potential free agents the Phillies should seriously pursue and two they should avoid at all costs.
3 free agents the Phillies should sign
Josh Hader, RP
After experiencing the inconsistencies of Craig Kimbrel this past season, which ultimately included a significant playoff meltdown, the Phillies painfully learned the importance of having a reliable shutdown closer who doesn’t cast doubt every time they take the mound.
This makes the signing of perhaps the best closer in the league right now, Josh Hader, a no-brainer. Despite the Phillies having shown little interest in pursuing the five-time All-Star to date, he could be the missing link that cements the ballclub as a serious World Series contender in 2024.
Hader has been an overpowering, dominant reliever since making his MLB debut with the Milwaukee Brewers back in 2017. With a career 2.50 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and a whopping 648 strikeouts in just 388 2/3 innings pitched, there isn’t much more that needs to be said about the game-changing pitcher. Although he did have one awful season back in 2022 when he pitched to a gaudy 5.22 ERA.
However, he quickly bounced back in a big way to his usual form last season with 33 saves and a spectacular 1.28 ERA, showing that his 2022 season was more attributed to just an outlier to his successful career thus far.
With recent rumors suggesting that Hader is looking for a projected five-year contract of over $100 million, he's worth every penny of it, even if there are valid arguments against signing him. More importantly, unlike some other contending teams, the Phillies don’t have that many desperate needs to be addressed this offseason other than the backend of their bullpen and perhaps tinkering with their outfield mix and the middle of their rotation.
Added to the fact they also have the money to spend after failing to land Yoshinobu Yamamoto, it makes too much sense that pursuing Hader should be their number one remaining target in free agency.