The Philadelphia Phillies had arguably the craziest crowd in the 2023 MLB postseason, so they were expected to advance to the World Series. The Phillies were ahead in their series with the Arizona Diamondbacks with Game 6 and Game 7 at Citizens Bank Park, and all the pundits had them as the favorite to face the Texas Rangers.
But instead Philly faltered in the two most crucial games of the season, leaving the team and fans shocked. Given the NLCS collapse, the front office will look to fortify the roster in order to get over the hump and win the World Series. Aaron Nola has already signed a long-term contract, so their top three in the rotation will be Nola, Zach Wheeler, and Taijuan Walker.
Even with that, there are a couple of names they can pursue in the offseason who would elevate their status in the tough National League race.
Forming an enormous package to chase Dylan Cease from the Chicago White Sox would be a fantastic addition for the Phillies. The White Sox are in the process of unloading a plethora of their major pieces in the hopes of bolstering their farm system, so the Phillies can try to persuade Chicago to move Cease to their organization.
The top three of Philadelphia is sensational, but the subpar performances in Games 6 and 7 of Nola and Ranger Suarez prove they can still improve their rotation. Moreover, Cease is the best long-term investment from the possible pitchers who can be traded, so Philadelphia would have the leverage to experiment and enjoy a lot of success with him in the fold.
The Shane Bieber sweepstakes have not been as loud as they would have been the past years because of his durability concerns and underperforming numbers. The Cleveland Guardians are likely going to move him sometime soon, so he could be a No. 3 starter under manager Rob Thomson. It would not take a hefty package compared to Cease or Corbin Burnes.
The Phillies have been disappointed with Nick Castellanos' inconsistent performances under the brightest lights, so he could be an expendable piece to move to the Guardians. Cleveland is a franchise that lacks power and offensive prowess, so they could pounce on the opportunity of adding a home run hitter in the middle of the lineup. It would unlikely be a straight one-for-one trade, but Bieber and Castellanos being the centerpiece of the exchange would be beneficial for both sides.
Randy Arozarena is one player who has proven to perform in the postseason on a consistent basis for the Tampa Bay Rays. The problem with Arozarena in Tampa Bay is that the Rays are not known to invest in big-name players when they demand nine-figure contracts. When Arozarena is up for a new deal, it is the best time for Philadelphia to add a spectacular hitter who is a force every night.
Obviously, Arozarena is not on the level of Bryce Harper or Trea Turner, but the combination of athleticism and power would be perfect for the Phillies. It would be a huge mountain to climb to match the package the Rays would demand for a talent like Arozarena, but Philadelphia should still try to pursue the option. Adding another big bat like this would make the Phillies even more dangerous.