4 moves the Phillies should make to replace Taijuan Walker before Opening Day

Taijuan Walker will not be ready for Opening Day, and the Phillies need to fill the hole in the rotation. While there are external options at play, there is enough talent on the roster to bandage the wound to start the season
Mar 15, 2024; West Palm Beach, Florida, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull
Mar 15, 2024; West Palm Beach, Florida, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull / Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
5 of 5

Insert Spencer Turnbull into Walker's spot

Spencer Turnbull, an under-the-radar, pre-spring training signing, could end up being the Phillies' best option for a No. 5 starter to begin the year.

Turnbull, 31, spent his first six seasons in Detroit pitching to some pretty good numbers. His career ERA sits at 4.55 but includes his rookie campaign, where his ERA was over 6.00, as well as his first few starts back from his Tommy John surgery last season, where he struggled.

Before the injury to his throwing arm, however, the 6-foot-3 right-hander was beginning to find his own, sitting at a 2.88 ERA while also turning in one of the top moments from the 2021 season when he threw a no-hitter.

In his first spring training with the Phillies, Turnbull looked great pitching eight innings and striking out 12 while only allowing two earned runs. In his final start versus the Yankees, he caught Aaron Judge looking on a dotted curveball while also getting Giancarlo Stanton swinging over a nasty slider.

It looks likely that manager Rob Thomson will turn the ball over to Turnbull as the fifth starter to begin the season, as he will be the most comfortable in the role. According to Alex Coffey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Turnbull recently spoke highly about the Phillies organization, saying that the Phillies keep treatments, techniques, and equipment all readily available to him, which allows him to be more free on the mound and dialed in.

If the Phillies can get Turnbull back to the condition he was in pre-Tommy John surgery, the Mississippi native could become one of the more reliable back-end rotation pieces in MLB.