5) The Phillies should pursue Yoshinobu Yamamoto in free agency this winter
The Orix Buffaloes of the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan (NPB) are expected to post ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto this winter. This means he'll be available for all 30 teams to sign this offseason. If indeed he is made available, the Phillies should be all over it.
Yamamoto has been one of the best pitchers in Japan for a while now, and he's been dominant throughout his entire career there. He has a whopping 1.81 ERA across seven seasons and 180 appearances. Each of his last three seasons has seen him post an ERA below 2.00, including a 1.57 ERA in 16 starts and 115 innings pitched this season.
What's really impressive about this right-hander is how much of a control specialist he is with the stuff he has. He's walked just 14 batters in 115 innings pitched this season (1.1 BB/9) while allowing just two home runs (0.2 HR/9). Of course, MLB isn't the NPB, but we've seen plenty Japanese pitchers translate to North America, and none of them have the numbers or stuff Yamamoto has.
The dream scenario would be the Phillies finding some way to lure both Yamamoto and Ohtani together to Philadelphia, but that, of course, is just a fantasy that will not become reality. Yamamoto on his own would be outstanding.
What he has that the other pitchers don't is youth on his side. Each of the other four starters are at least 30 years of age while Yamamoto won't turn 25 until later this month. The Phillies can give him a deal for five or seven years and watch him still be in his prime while any long-term deal for the other starters on this list could end poorly.