PHILADELPHIA -- Everybody was waiting for the Phillies to strike -- and it didn't take long.
Last month they fell two victories short of the third World Series championship in franchise history, so they have no intention of pulling back and getting conservative. That was evident on Monday afternoon, as the Phillies made a major splash by landing elite shortstop Trea Turner on an 11-year deal worth $300 million, per a source.
“We’re going to push the needle to try to win,” president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said last month. “I mean, we’re close, right? We’re going to try to win. … We’re open-minded to having the best club we possibly can and see where it takes us. … I think we have [payroll] flexibility. I mean, we did lose a couple guys that made significant dollars. In fact, more than one this year. So we have some flexibility.”
The Phillies' contingent headed to San Diego for the Winter Meetings with an aggressive mindset. A few things to know:
- Sunday, Dec. 4: Hall of Fame Contemporary Era ballot results announced. Albert Belle, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Dale Murphy, Rafael Palmeiro and former Phillies ace Curt Schilling are on the ballot.
- Monday, Dec. 5: All-MLB Team is announced
- Tuesday, Dec. 6: Inaugural Draft Lottery. American League and National League Relievers of Year announced
- Wednesday, Dec. 7: Rule 5 Draft
Shortstop: The Phillies had been calling their biggest need “middle infield,” if only because they technically had the flexibility to find a shortstop or a second baseman, but they focused their efforts on Turner. And why wouldn’t they? He is an absolutely dynamic player who fits in perfectly somewhere at the top of the Phillies’ lineup.
Potential Trade Candidates
The Phils figure to deal from their farm system if they make any trades at the Winter Meetings. This is a franchise trying to add to its NL-championship roster, after all.
Prospects to Know
Next spring you will hear plenty about Andrew Painter, Mick Abel and Griff McGarry, the Nos. 1, 2 and 4 prospects in the organization, respectively, according to MLB Pipeline. Dombrowski said recently that the Phillies will hold a rotation spot for one of their top young arms, a group that includes left-handers Bailey Falter and Cristopher Sánchez. Painter is the top competition for Falter and Sánchez, with the latter two perhaps having the edge because of their big league experience. (Falter went 6-4 with a 3.86 ERA in 20 appearances, with 16 starts, last season.) But Painter is the real deal, with Dombrowski comparing him to a young Josh Beckett, so keep a close eye on him this spring. Abel and McGarry have bright futures, but they probably need more seasoning in Triple-A.
Rule 5 Draft
The Phillies protected only one player: outfielder Johan Rojas, the organization’s No. 5 prospect. Other top prospects -- Painter, Abel, McGarry, Justin Crawford and others -- are not eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. The Phillies did not protect right-handers McKinley Moore (No. 24 prospect), Andrew Schultz and Cristian Hernández, and left-handers Erik Miller (No. 7) and Ethan Lindow. Interestingly, the Phillies said recently that Moore, Schultz and Miller could be bullpen options in 2023.
Obviously, the Phillies addressed shortstop in a big way. But how far will they go beyond that? Do they sign a formidable middle-of-the-rotation starter, or would it be better to stack behind Wheeler, Nola and Suárez? Do they find a few legitimate late-inning bullpen options for manager Rob Thomson to pair behind Seranthony Domínguez and José Alvarado? Or do they go for more depth-type pieces?