Wednesday afternoon, Philadelphia Phillies President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski met with the media to talk about a plethora of issues that will be addressed over the next couple months of the MLB Offseason. It was an outstanding playoff run from the Phils that saw them make it within 2 games of winning the World Series, but with great success comes greater expectations. Let’s break down what Dombrowski said on numerous important issues like Bryce Harper’s elbow, Rhys Hoskins’ fielding, the starting pitching rotation, and the strategy with free agents, and what we can infer from his comments about the Phils’ strategy as the organization prepares for 2023.
Of course, the most pressing issue is the health of superstar Bryce Harper. When it comes to the topic of surgery, Dave Dombrowski did say that Harper would undergo a procedure on Wednesday, November 23rd, but the extent of the procedure and the recovery time is not yet known. Dombrowski did say the expectation is for it to slow Harper up a bit. So, we know the date of surgery, but we will have to wait until the 23rd or 24th to know just how serious it is. Speaking of ability to play the field, Dombrowski also answered questions about Rhys Hoskins’ future at 1st base considering his final year of team control and rough fielding in 2022. Essentially, Dombrowski said that Hoskins is an incredibly hard worker, and while he’s not the perfect player, Dombrowski (seemingly jokingly) said that Hoskins is the front runner to be the opening day starter at 1st base. Sounds like no trade or position change for Hoskins.
So, those are the current players, but what did the Phillies’ President of Baseball Ops say about the acquisition of some new talent? Well, it doesn’t sound like the big move of the offseason is going to be a starting pitcher. Dombrowski did discuss the starting rotation, but he said that it doesn’t have to be a top end starter, potentially opting for more of a depth move than going out and getting, say, a Carlos Rodon. That is kind of the reality of the Phillies situation when you’re already looking at a bunch of big contracts committed for the season. Wait, so does that mean the Phillies are done spending? Well, not necessarily. Dombrowski was also asked about the luxury tax and where the Phils’ spending limit is. Here was his full comment:
“We’re going to push the needle to try to win. I mean, we’re close, right? I mean, we’re going to try to win, and I think we have a good ball club, we really played well after the first third of the season basically and including the postseason, so we’re going to try to win. Again, you ask me would I prefer to be under, yeah, I would prefer to be under it, but I didn’t say we’re going to be under it. So, we’re going to try to do what we can to make our club a championship caliber club.”
Music to my ears. Dave Dombrowski and John Middleton sound like every couple when they set their budget for buying a new house. You say you have a budget, and then you see the beautiful Victorian with the big back yard for the dog and you say “I guess we can go over the budget by a couple thousand dollars”. So sure, ideally the luxury tax would not come into play, but we all know it will, including Dombrowski. The important part is that the goal is a championship team, and that means significant investment. Whatever the cost, it should certainly be an interesting offseason for the Phillies.