No. 5: Taijuan Walker
Taijuan Walker's first season in Philadelphia had its highs and lows. To begin the season, he was practically unusable. A 6.53 ERA through his nine starts had Dave Dombrowski regretting the signing early. After a clunker in San Francisco, the right-hander turned his season around by posting a 2.74 ERA in his next 14 outings, pitching like an All-Star.
Walker struggled in his final eight starts to finish the year, which caused him to not only be bumped from their postseason rotation, but Walker didn't make a single playoff appearance during their run to the NLCS. Cristopher Sánchez earned a start over him, which is something no Phillies fan expected entering the year.
While it can certainly be argued that Sánchez should be in this rotation over Walker, trusting the experienced right-hander is what makes the most sense to me. Having Sánchez be the team's sixth starter, if they sign Yamamoto, or act in a swingman role that can work out of the bullpen and start games would give Rob Thomson some added flexibility Walker has no history of providing.
The Phillies obviously hope Walker can be more consistent in 2024, and in the event that he gets off to a slow start in this dream rotation, Sánchez is there to serve as an obvious replacement.