The Philadelphia Phillies were just one win away from winning their second straight National League pennant. While the starting rotation wasn't the main reason why the team fell short in its quest, it doesn't appear to be in the best shape heading into the 2023 offseason.
Aaron Nola, a key cog even with his down year, is officially a free agent after rejecting his qualifying offer. Anything can happen, but it feels like the odds of him returning are pretty slim at this point.
Philadelphia must find a Nola replacement to compliment Zack Wheeler at the front of the rotation, while also building a strong enough back end so the team isn't relying on the bullpen to record so many outs in playoff games.
Dream Phillies starting rotation for the 2024 season
There's almost no chance this dream rotation actually takes shape, but it's not an impossibility. This would give the Phillies the best chance to win in 2024 with a rotation that would pretty easily be the best in the game.
Ace: Zack Wheeler
Zack Wheeler has been, and will continue to be, the ace of this staff no matter who they sign or trade for. He has become one of the best pitchers in recent Phillies memory, and one of the best postseason pitchers of all time.
Wheeler wasn't quite as dominant in the regular season as in years past, but he still made 32 starts, had 192 innings pitched, and led all MLB pitchers with 5.9 fWAR. That's a pretty successful season, even if the ERA was a bit higher than usual. Wheeler even added a Gold Glove to his ledger, something he had never won before.
The Phillies ace continued to be stupidly good in the postseason, allowing two runs or fewer in all five of his appearances and posting a 1.95 ERA. His 1 2/3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen not only were the first innings he had thrown out of the bullpen in the major leagues, but it also gave Philadelphia a chance to come back and win that game against Arizona. They didn't, but Wheeler gave them every chance.
He might be 33 years old, but Wheeler remains one of the best pitchers in the National League. As he enters the final year of his contract, we can only wonder what the future holds. For now, let's get excited for what will hopefully be another 30+ starts and 180+ innings from Wheeler in 2024 (plus postseason success).