PHILADELPHIA -- If you have missed the sights and sounds of the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla., do not fret. Bryce Harper, Zack Wheeler and the rest of the Phillies will be there soon.
Major League Baseball and the MLBPA recently agreed to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which means baseball business will resume shortly. And that means the Phillies will be busy, because they have a lot of holes to fill before Opening Day. But before we dig into their needs, let’s answer a few questions to get everybody back up to speed.
What deals have the Phillies already made?
The most notable offseason acquisition so far is right-hander Corey Knebel, who the Phillies said in December is likely to be their closer. Knebel signed a one-year, $10 million contract. The Phils also signed utility infielder Johan Camargo to a one-year deal hours before the lockout began, and they agreed to terms with veteran righty reliever Jeurys Familia on a one-year deal Saturday, according to sources.
The front office made a handful of minor moves, too. They claimed right-hander Yoan López and left-handers Scott Moss, Ryan Sherriff and Kent Emanuel off waivers. They got right-hander Nick Nelson and catcher Donny Sands in a trade with the Yankees. They got catcher Garrett Stubbs in a trade with the Astros. Sands and Stubbs will compete to be J.T. Realmuto’s backup.
The pitchers provide the organization pitching depth, although it remains to be seen if they all make it to Clearwater given that the club may have to clear some room on the 40-man roster for other additions.
What are the biggest remaining needs and who might they target to fill these holes?
The Phillies have a lot of holes. They need a left fielder, center fielder, more lockdown late-inning relievers and bench pieces. The club has said it needs to find a leadoff hitter and more protection in the middle of the lineup for Harper. Those lineup needs will likely be solved in left and center field, although there are other ways to address them.
Before the lockout, the Phillies had been linked to free agent Kyle Schwarber and Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who Tampa Bay could trade.
Which Phillies free agents have signed elsewhere?
Right-hander Héctor Neris signed with the Astros. The Phillies hoped to bring him back, but they had no desire to beat Houston’s two-year, $17 million offer. Catcher Andrew Knapp signed a Minor League deal with the Reds, and right-hander JD Hammer signed a Minor League deal with the Rockies.
Might there be a reunion with any of their remaining free agents?
The Phillies’ notable free agents include Andrew McCutchen, Odúbel Herrera, Brad Miller, Archie Bradley and Ian Kennedy. The best bet to return might be Miller, though Bradley cannot be ruled out because the Phillies still need to add to the bullpen. It seems less likely that McCutchen, Herrera and Kennedy will be back.
Are there any players they are looking to trade?
The Phillies, like every team, are open minded. But there is nobody on the projected Opening Day roster who makes you say, “I’d bet on him being traded in the next few weeks.”
Which outstanding arbitration cases are on the docket?
The Phillies tendered contracts to Rhys Hoskins, Zach Eflin and José Alvarado just before the lockout. They also agreed to a deal with right-hander Seranthony Domínguez and non-tendered outfielder Roman Quinn.
How many players do they have on the 40-man roster?
The Phillies have 40, which means some of those pitchers acquired late last year probably will not make it to camp. Adonis Medina was designated for assignment just before the lockout. He has been in limbo ever since, so that will be resolved shortly.