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By Connor Thomas

 

The MLB season is over, but the hot stove is just getting warmed up when it comes to roster moves in baseball. Players have begun to opt out of contracts and teams have chosen to not pick up options for certain players as well. For a team like the Phillies, who are in the midst of a decade long playoff drought with minimal help coming from the farm system, this is a huge time of the year for creating a roster that can compete in the 2022 season. The Phils have already moved on from a number of players, most notably LF Andrew McCutchen and CF Odubel Herrera, so there are certainly holes to be filled. Here are 5 potential free agency targets for the Phils to bolster their roster for next year:

  • 1.) RF Nick Castellanos

    Castellanos had a stellar season in Cincinnati in 2021, hitting .309 with 34 homers in what was an NL All-Star campaign. He was the perfect picture of power and average that you want out of a corner outfielder, and was solid defensively as well. Obviously right field is already locked down by some guy named Harper, but Castellanos in left would be a solid improvement over Andrew McCutchen. He also has the versatility in the field to be able to play 3rd base if need be, another potential position of need for the Phils if Alec Bohm doesn’t rebound. Castellanos will be expensive, but he is probably the best outfield option on the market for the Phillies.

  • 2.) SS Carlos Correa

    Correa is finally available after a 7 year stint with the Houston Astros, and he is sure to command a lot of attention as this offseason progresses. Correa has been a consistent .275 average 20 homer guy at Shortstop for the Stros, and won the AL Gold Glove at the position this past year. The two time AL All-Star is a well-rounded, top of the line infielder who has held down the 5 hole in Houston for the better part of a decade and is due a huge pay day, but for the Phillies, who need to find a replacement for the struggling Didi Gregorius, he could be a perfect fit. The only question is whether or not they will be willing to pay the hefty sum Correa will want.

  • 3.) SS Trevor Story

    So let’s say Correa doesn’t work out. Well, there is another great option for the Phils at Shortstop in this year’s free agent class. Story has been in Colorado playing short for the Rockies for 6 seasons and has already appeared in 2 NL All-Star games. He had a down year this past season, but is a career .272 hitter and averages 26 homers a season that has 2 silver sluggers to his name. His defense is strong as well, but the main draw for Story is how powerful his offense is from a middle infield position. He would be an awesome addition to the middle of the Phils lineup if they could land him this offseason.

  • 4.) OF Michael Conforto

    The former New York Mets outfielder has decided to test free agency this season, and he will almost definitely get some interest from Dave Dombrowski and the rest of the Phillies’ brass. Conforto is coming off of an injury plagued season in 2021, but in 2020 he had one of the best showings of any player in baseball. In a shortened season due to COVID, he slashed .322/.412/.515, and even if that drops off over the course of a full year, Conforto has proven that he can be a solid option at the dish for a contender. He’s solid defensively as well, and has the ability to slot into the CF position, which is paramount for a Phillies team that struggled significantly with their defense in 2021. There’s no guarantee that Conforto rebounds from his injury to his peak form, but that means the Phils might be able to get him for cheaper than market value and hit big on a smart gamble. Imagine an outfield of Castellanos, Conforto, and Harper! What a summer that would be in South Philly.

  • 5.) CP Kenley Jansen

    Jansen has been in the closer role in Los Angeles for a decade, but he is officially becoming a free agent this offseason with a chance to seek new employment. He’s no spring chicken – Jansen just turned 34 in September – but he has been extremely productive for the competitive Dodgers even into his 30s. This past season he had 38 saves in 43 opportunities with a 2.22 ERA as he helped the Dodgers to another NLCS appearance. The Phillies DESPERATELY need help on the back end of their bullpen, and with Craig Kimbrel returning to the White Sox, Jansen may very well be the best option available. He could take a team friendly deal to stay in Los Angeles with the ever-contending Dodgers, but if the Phillies are willing to out pay LA, they could have themselves a competent closer for the first time in a while.

  • 6.) BONUS INTERNATIONAL OPTION – OF Seiya Suzuki

    Per some rumors swirling around Major League Baseball, the Phillies have been connected, at least slightly, with Japanese superstar outfielder Seiya Suzuki. Suzuki is a 27 year old offensive powerhouse with already legendary discipline at the plate. Last season in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League (the same league that produced Shohei Ohtani), Suzuki slashed .319/.436/.640 with 38 homers, but maybe the most impressive part of his game is that he walked 88 times compared to 87 strikeouts. Though most scouts say that Suzuki’s ceiling is lower than that of Ohtani, he is still an enticing prospect that may be on the table this offseason for the Phillies.