Regrading 3 big Phillies offseason moves after the first month of the season

How have the Phillies' three biggest offseason moves turned out so far this season?
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Zack Wheeler
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Zack Wheeler / Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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The Philadelphia Phillies made several moves during the offseason to help bolster the team’s chances of winning this season and hopefully beyond.

While they made plenty of depth moves, the two biggest transactions involved maintaining their 1-2 punch in the starting rotation for the near future by re-signing Aaron Nola and extending Zack Wheeler. They also recruited a veteran star utilityman in Whit Merrifield to help boost their offensive potential off the bench.

How have these significant moves been paying off for the Phillies thus far in the 2024 season? Let's revisit and regrade those transactions based on how they have turned out compared to our previous expectations.

Regrading the Phillies' Whit Merrifield free agent signing

The biggest move for the Phillies in the free agent market this past offseason was the addition of veteran utilityman Whit Merrifield.

Merrifield was coming off a big bounce-back season with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2023, in which he batted .272 with a .700 OPS, 66 runs scored, 27 doubles, 11 home runs, 67 RBI and 26 stolen bases in 145 games. Signed to a one-year deal worth only $8 million, he has the ability to play all over the field while hitting anywhere in the lineup, making him a very versatile and solid pickup for the Phillies.

Despite his flexibility, expectations still needed to be somewhat tempered coming into the year. The 35-year-old noticeably struggled down the stretch last season. That poor finish, plus his age, points to any potential outcome being possible this season with the Phillies. This also explains why they were able to obtain him at such a value price.

Merrifield put together an impressive spring training, compiling a stellar .405 batting average and 1.143 OPS over 16 games and signaling that he was ready to make an impact with the ballclub. But so far, during the regular season, he hasn’t seen as much playing time as expected.

When he has played, he has posted some paltry numbers. In 14 games (12 starts), he's hitting only .209 with a .547 OPS, a 54 OPS+, five runs scored, one home run and two RBI. The more telltale story was the fact that even when Johan Rojas, Nick Castellanos, and, to some extent, Bryson Stott were all struggling out of the gate, it didn't result in Merrifield garnering steady playing time despite his proven track record.

As a result, his potential impact with the club is still in question, but initial results have been quite disappointing compared to what we expected from the three-time All-Star. If he fails to turn things around soon, this could become an offseason failure for the Phillies.

We originally graded the Whit Merrifield signing B+, but now give it a grade of D after one month of play.

Original Grade: B+
Current Grade: D