4 amazing Phillies moves that worked out better than expected in 2023

What surprising moves did the Phillies make that helped contribute to their successful 2023 MLB season?
Pittsburgh Pirates v Philadelphia Phillies
Pittsburgh Pirates v Philadelphia Phillies / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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The signing of Matt Strahm

One of the more underrated signings made by the Phillies this past offseason was the one involving left-handed pitcher Matt Strahm. The eight-year MLB veteran was coming off a strong season with the Boston Red Sox in which he went 4-4 with a 3.83 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP, giving up just 19 earned runs, 17 walks and 52 strikeouts in 44.2 innings of work over 50 appearances. His deal has provided even greater value than Kimbrel’s, as he agreed to a two-year contract worth only $15 million.

With the ability to pitch as both a reliever and starter, it provided the Phillies with the added flexibility when deploying Strahm during the 2023 season. He began the season as part of the Phillies’ starting rotation but produced mixed results. Therefore, he was subsequently moved to the bullpen, where he became a mainstay for the rest of the season. In doing so, he actually got stronger and stronger as the year wore on as he got more comfortable in his role.

For 2023, Strahm has compiled a solid 9-5 record with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP, with a whopping 106 strikeouts in just 86.2 innings pitched. More importantly, in his last 35 games of the season prior to Sunday, he has been one of the best relievers on the Phillies roster, going 5-2 with nine holds, along with a stellar 2.31 ERA, a .203 opponents batting average and a 0.95 WHIP, with only eight walks and 46 strikeouts in 39 innings of work. He certainly has helped make up for the struggles of Domínguez and Gregory Soto and has provided a strong bridge to Alvarado and Kimbrel throughout the season.