If it feels like we’re diving head first into this MLB offseason, that’s because we are. The Phillies just had an incredibly late finish to their season being that the World Series continued into November, and that means they’re heading into one of the shortest breaks between seasons that we’ve ever seen. That means it’s already time to start looking at the free agent market, and there’s one position that will be captivating a lot of top MLB teams: shortstop. This class has been anticipated for a couple of years now, and it consists of 4 top names: Trae Turner, Dansby Swanson, Xander Bogaerts, and Carlos Correa. Any of those four would be immediate upgrades for the Phillies, but which of the group does Dave Dombrowski prefer? Which player is most likely to end up in red pinstripes? Let’s break it down.

We’ll start with the guy with the most smoke around him; Trae Turner has already been linked to the Phillies multiple times. He has a connection with Bryce Harper, and the Phillies are the betting favorites to land him if he plays with a team not named the Los Angeles Dodgers. I believe Turner is the Phillies’ clear favorite option. Next, I would imagine the Phillies prefer either Swanson or Correa because of their age. Both are 28 years old, so it would be more attractive to throw the bag at them than 30 year old Xander Bogaerts. That’s how I would break down the preference of Dave Dombrowski giving a long term contract to any of these 4 in a vacuum, but really, it’s going to depend on what the market is and who blinks first.

They all do have their own strengths, of course. Turner batted .298, hit 21 homers, and is one of the fastest players in baseball. Bogaerts only had 15 homers, so the power is a little less evident, but he batted a gaudy .307 in 2022. Swanson only hit .277, but led the quartet with 25 home runs and significantly improved his defense at short. Correa had 22 homers in less at bats than the other 3, while playing in a cavernous Target Field up in Minnesota, and is arguably the best defensive shortstop in baseball. The Phillies cannot go wrong here, unless they significantly overpay. While we’ll all have our favorite option, don’t let that blind you from the fact that any of these 4 players puts the Phillies in significantly better shape in the infield.

So, who is the most likely to end up here? In my opinion, Trae Turner is the favorite because of his connection with Harper and John Middleton’s proclivity to spend money on top free agents. 2nd is Correa, because of his defense and the new banning of the shift. He would really help Alec Bohm out on that side of the infield. 3rd is Bogaerts, being that he will probably be the last of the 4 to sign, and the Phillies will go all out for him if they don’t get one of the other 3. Finally, I believe Swanson brings up the rear, just because he kind of fits into the middle zone of the 4 options. I think he’ll either end up back in Atlanta, or with a middle of the pack team that exploits the fact that contenders will all be chasing Turner or Correa. Again, though, whatever way the Phillies go, getting one of these 4 players is paramount for this offseason.