No. 3: Yoshinobu Yamamoto
The Phillies are going to sign a frontline starter this offseason. That's pretty much a fact at this point. Whether they bring back Nola or look to bring in a different starter remains to be seen. But what we do know is Zack Wheeler won't be the only star in this rotation.
Burnes might be a bit unrealistic, but the Phillies signing a player like Yoshinobu Yamamoto is far from it. Outside of Shohei Ohtani, this right-hander is arguably the biggest star from Japan headed to MLB. He's done historic things in Japan and has yet to hit the prime of his career.
Yamamoto has won Japan's Cy Young Award in each of the last three seasons. This season, he posted a 1.21 ERA in 23 starts and 164 innings pitched for the Orix Buffaloes. He finished his season allowing one run in nine innings in Game 6 of the Japan Series with 14 strikeouts to force a Game 7.
While Yamamoto will likely not have quite as insane numbers as he had in Japan, he certainly profiles as a frontline starter. He was much better than Mets star Kodai Senga, who had an outstanding year in his first season in North America.
The best part about Yamamoto is he's just 25 years old. Most free agents, including Aaron Nola, are around 30 years old or older. Even if the Phillies give him the seven or eight years he'll likely be seeking, he'll still be in his prime by the time his contract expires. Adding Burnes, who is only projected to make around $15 million in 2024, gives the Phillies the financial flexibility to also add a top free agent arm like Yamamoto.