Phillies' expectations are at their highest since the late 2000s.
One year can make a world of difference. Over the past 365 days, the Philadelphia Phillies signed Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos and replaced manager Joe Girardi with Rob Thomson. The club also got younger by giving significant roles to pre-arbitration players Brandon Marsh and Bryson Stott. To much surprise, the Phillies reached the World Series after making the postseason for the first time since 2011 as a Wild Card team.
Dave Dombrowski doubled down — signing superstar shortstop Trea Turner to an 11-year, $300 million contract. The 29-year-old became the club's second active player to earn a $300 million deal, joining Bryce Harper — who signed a 13-year, $330 million deal before the 2019 season.
The Phillies have committed significant money to their core batters and ace Zack Wheeler. They have several players with contracts worth at least $100 million, including Harper, Turner, Wheeler, Castellanos, and catcher J.T. Realmuto — who in 2022 was a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove winner, as well as a member of the All-MLB First Team.
These big-time contracts — and being the defending National League Champions — will only put a brighter spotlight on the Phillies this year. Expectations are as high as they have been since their back-to-back World Series appearances in 2008 and 2009.
We know what to expect from Harper, Turner, and Realmuto. They play at an All-Star level every year. Players who have not had years of continued success will need to play their best for the Phillies to return to the World Series — and be favorites to win. Which players are most pivotal for them to extend their success into 2023?