The start of spring training is near as the Philadelphia Phillies' first workout will take place in Clearwater on Feb. 14. On Wednesday, Dave Dombrowski, the president of baseball operations, spoke about several topics during a guest appearance on the SportsRadio 94 WIP Morning Show.
Among other topics, Dombrowski defended the Phillies' quiet offseason, explained his desire to give young players on the roster an opportunity, and gave us a peek behind the curtain in the effort to sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
Dombrowski defends the Phillies' lack of moves this offseason
While contending teams in the National League such as the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers have been among the most active clubs in roster moves this offseason, the Phillies have been relatively quiet aside from the re-signing of Aaron Nola, which they addressed back in November.
Entering the offseason, Philadelphia's primary need was finding a second starter in the rotation with Nola becoming a free agent. The club took care of that hole in its roster by agreeing to a multi-year deal with him, potentially making him a life-long Phillie in the process with a seven-year contract.
Dombrowski mentioned the lack of offseason moves is partly due to the organization wanting to allow opportunities to some of their young players on the roster.
"If we're going to be the organization that we would like to be throughout, we want to give young players an opportunity," Dombrowski said. "And those guys are guys like Cristopher Sánchez, who did a good job for us ... and that gives us five really established major league starters.
"[Orion] Kerkering in the bullpen, and if he comes in, that gives us six people, three from the left-hand side with [José] Alvarado, [Gregory] Soto, and [Matt] Strahm, and three from the right-hand side with Seranthony [Domínguez], [Jeff] Hoffman, and also with Kerkering there."
The Phillies president of baseball operations mentioned allowing the same opportunities to their young positional players, specifically Johan Rojas.
"We want to give an opportunity to Rojas," Dombrowski said. "He did not have a good postseason offensively, but he played well for us before, and he's an outstanding defensive outfielder so that makes us better right off the bat in that regard ... there's not a lot of other holes there if you're going to give Rojas the opportunity."
Philadelphia already has a good roster entering the season with not many needs, as Dombrowski reiterated. They don't have much room to guarantee a top free agent positional player playing time with the infield they have consisting of Bryce Harper, Bryson Stott, Alec Bohm, Trea Turner, and J.T. Realmuto. The outfield consists of Brandon Marsh, Nick Castellanos, and potentially Rojas. This factored into the difficult decision of letting Rhys Hoskins become a free agent.