What are the Winter Meetings and what deals could the Phillies get done there?

Philadelphia Phillies President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski
Philadelphia Phillies President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

With a 2024 lineup and a rotation that are expected to look very similar, if not identical, to their tried and true 2023 configurations, the Philadelphia Phillies find themselves in a great position this offseason. They've already solved some early questions: Will Bryce Harper be their everyday first baseman with Rhys Hoskins coming off of an injury? Yes! Will they find a good replacement in their starting rotation for Aaron Nola? No need! They re-signed Nola. There's always room for improvement, which the Phillies will certainly be looking for going into upcoming Winter Meetings, but they have the advantage of only needing to look for tweaks rather than major fixes. Here are the basics of the Phillies' trip to Nashville in December.

What are the Winter Meetings?

The Winter Meetings are a four-day conference held annually in December that brings together representatives from all 30 MLB teams. As the centerpiece of the offseason, owners, executives, agents, and so on come together to negotiate trades and get their rosters together in light of the approaching season. At the 2022 meetings, the Phillies were at the center of the action; they signed Taijuan Walker and Matt Strahm and won the Trea Turner sweepstakes. This year, the Winter Meetings will be held from Dec. 3 - 6 in Nashville, TN.

What could the Phillies do at Winter Meetings?

Like a lot of other teams, the Phillies will mostly be focused on pitching this season. Their rotation seems to be in a good place following the surprise re-signing of Aaron Nola, who was heavily expected to leave in free agency. Although they'll be losing Michael Lorenzen, lefty Cristopher Sanchez is expected to join a rotation made up of Nola, Zack Wheeler, Ranger Suarez, and Taijuan Walker on a more regular basis. The Phillies have been linked to Sonny Gray and Yoshinobu Yamamoto at various points during the offseason so far, and they've made it clear that they're still interested in Yamamoto, even after Nola's signing.

The Phillies are also be expected to seek out a new closer, given Craig Kimbrel's departure in free agency. Conflicting rumors abound; Jon Morosi linked Hader to Philadelphia, while Jayson Stark reported the opposite. Still, Hader is the most elite closer available in this year's free agent class. Given the Phillies' history of big signings, it would be surprising if they didn't at least entertain the conversation of going after him.

Rule 5 draft

The Rule 5 draft, made up of minor leaguers with 4-5 years of service time, also takes place during the Winter Meetings. Only teams without a full 40-man roster participate; as of writing, the Phillies still have three open spots after deciding not to protect Nos. 6 and 28 prospects Carlos de la Cruz and Samuel Aldegheri from the draft.

MLB Draft lottery

The second MLB Draft lottery, wherein the 18 non-playoff teams will draw to determine draft order in 2024, will also take place during Winter Meetings. As a playoff team, the Phillies order is already set at 27th, same as this year's draft.