The Phillies rode a hot streak to a World Series appearance a year ago, only to spend the offseason making incremental changes. This year the club is bound for the playoffs once again, but this offseason figures to be different. Philadelphia will have questions to address, starting with Aaron Nola’s future.
Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Detroit Tigers
Re-signing Nola to an extension is likely high on the Phillies to do list. The right-hander has been a fixture of the rotation since debuting in 2015 and is enjoying another typical season. He is going to command interest on the open market if the Phillies can’t reach an agreement with him first. Should he leave, the Phillies will need to look for an addition to replace him.
Rodriguez is expected to opt out of the remaining portion of his contract (three years, $49M) and test free agency. The Tigers had a deal worked out at the deadline to trade him to Los Angeles, but Rodriguez vetoed it, citing a desire to remain closer to his family on the East Coast. The potential fit in Philly is clear. The left-hander has a 3.76 ERA and 1.232 WHIP over the last two seasons.
Chris Stratton, RHP, Texas Rangers
Philadelphia’s bullpen has been a strength, collectively ranked third in baseball in WAR, but the group is likely to lose at least one piece with Craig Kimbrel facing free agency. Given the potential volatility of reliever performance from year to year it would make sense for the Phillies to look at bringing another arm in to help keep the group strong.
Stratton has excelled with the Rangers since coming over in a deadline trade (the second year in a row he’d been moved at the deadline), posting a 0.786 WHIP across 28 innings with Texas. The 33-year-old wouldn’t be needed to cover the higher-leverage innings in Philadelphia.
Michael Conforto, OF, San Francisco Giants
Another Phillies decision: Do they pursue a first baseman or an outfielder? Much of this depends on the club’s plans for Bryce Harper beyond the end of the season. He has excelled at first but it’s hard to argue his value in the outfield defensively. The Phillies will need to weigh this before deciding where to add a bat.
Conforto has a player option on the contract he signed last winter with San Francisco and he’s exceeded the number of plate appearances needed to allow him to opt out, returning to the free agent market. He may do so which could make him an option for the Phillies. A .253/.353/.459 career hitter, Conforto could handle all three outfield spots for Philadelphia giving them flexibility.
Source: Yard Baker