With no new major league additions to the roster throughout the offseason so far, it could mean Philadelphia Phillies fans are in store for a wild ramp-up to Opening Day.
The Phillies are coming off back-to-back NLCS appearances, including a World Series run in 2022. While there is trust and belief that the squad from last season could be effective and continue to improve going into 2024, it doesn't mean that they have to settle.
Before the beginning of the season, there are still a few things that need to get done to ensure that the Phillies continue to stay competitive not only next season but for years to come.
Here are our predictions for the Phillies' moves before Opening Day, from the probable to the possible to the unlikely.
Probable move before Opening Day: Phillies get some back-end bullpen help
A long-standing problem for the Phillies, the bullpen was very impressive in 2023, finishing 10th in bullpen ERA (4.03) and first in postseason bullpen ERA (2.20). That being said, one would expect some regression.
Last year, unproven pitchers were relied upon throughout the postseason, which led to inconsistency. Newcomers Jeff Hoffman and Orion Kerkering, who showed promise during the regular season, lapsed in October, leaving the Phillies wondering what they should've done differently.
As Dave Dombrowski has pointed out, the Phillies are still open to adding pitching depth. Bullpen arms are the most volatile, and rotational pieces are needed. A perfect fit for the bullpen in this state would be Ryne Stanek. The 32-year-old pitched for the Astros the past three seasons and was a staple out of the bullpen in their playoff runs.
Stanek boasts a career 2.70 postseason ERA and consistently ranks toward the top of the league in fastball velocity and fastball run value, according to Baseball Savant. His high energy and competitive edge seem like a good fit for Philadelphia and the fans. The right-hander has had plenty of postseason experience, something that was lacking in 2023, and can be another late-inning, high-leverage pitcher for Thomson and Caleb Cotham to weaponize.