After a very productive week at the Winter Meetings, the Phillies front office has answered many of the questions that fans held heading into the off-season.
The Phillies have addressed the shortstop position, added another starting pitcher, and found a new bullpen member. The club has also lost some members of the 2022 National League championship team, and with all these moves official, it is time to assess where the club currently stands.
The Phillies Infield & Catcher Positions
JT Realmuto proved to any remaining doubters this season that he is still the best catcher in baseball. Realmuto was an All-Star this past season and brought home the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards for the catcher position in the National League.
Garrett Stubbs proved that he was the BBCIB (Best Backup Catcher in Baseball) last season and an amazing DJ as well. Stubbs brought life and passion to the Phillies clubhouse and wasn’t too shabby on the field. Garrett Stubbs won over Philadelphia with his playlists for the celebrations in the playoffs and his walk-off homerun against the Marlins in June.
Rhys Hoskins isn’t going anywhere. It is time to stop using trade ideas because Hoskins will be the team’s starting first baseman.
It is true that Rhys’ defense is below average and that his hot and cold streaks at the plate can be infuriating. However, replacing a .794 OPS hitter with 30+ homeruns and 75+ RBIs doesn’t just happen. The first base free agent market does not have a single player better than Rhys, especially for the cost. Hoskins will get another year to prove himself before he becomes a free agent after the 2023 season.
Darick Hall will be the backup first baseman in 2023. Hall provided a spark when he was called up in 2022, and his nine homeruns were huge for the team. Darick needs to improve his swing against left-handed pitchers and hit for a higher average if he is to get more play time in 2023.
The Trea Turner signing made it all but official that Stott would be the starting second basemen, and Bryson will get a full season to continue his game. The rookie played really well in 2022, and the Phillies don’t make the playoffs and World Series if not for Bryson Stott.
Get familiar with the name Trea Turner because the Phillies have signed their next shortstop for the next eleven seasons. The big off-season acquisition was added to put the Phillies over the edge.
A team that finished just two games away from winning the World Series, the Phils still have plenty of work to do in 2023. Starting with winning the National League East and ending with winning the World Series, the Phillies will have high aspirations, and Trea Turner will have high expectations as well.
Turner is coming off an All-Star season and was named the All-MLB shortstop. Trea needs to help carry the lineup over the first half of the year as the Phillies await the return of Bryce Harper.
Edmundo Sosa will return to the Phillies in 2023 as well. Sosa was the Phillies’ defensive replacement and utility man after being traded in late July. Sosa will play second, short, and third for the Phillies in 2023 and could continue to come off the bench late to sub for Alec Bohm.
Alec Bohm arguably grew the most as a player in 2022. Bohm’s defense took a turn for the better, and in the second half of the season, Alec became a very solid defensive player.
Bohm’s bat also returned to form in 2022, and the youngster led the club in hits. Entering his age 26 season, Alec is entering the prime of his career. The Phillies would really benefit from a career year out of their former top prospect.
The Phillies infield has a chance to grow into a really special unit in 2023. The signing of Trea Turner gives the Phillies a star in their middle infield for the first time since the days of Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley.
Bryson Stott and Alec Bohm get another season to grow as big-league players, and if 2022 is any indication, they will take another step forward. Rhys Hoskins is one of the two players who remain from the ugly rebuild Phillies era. Rhys has a chance to change the narrative surrounding him this off-season with another strong year at the plate and hopefully some improvements at first base.
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Photo Credit: AP Photo/Chris Szagola