Should the Phillies bring back Michael Lorenzen in ’24?

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Michael Lorenzen
Philadelphia Phillies’ Michael Lorenzen pitches during the second inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

A Michael Lorenzen reunion could be very beneficial for the Phillies.

The offseason fully began the first week of November and it has been dragging, in part, because the best player in Major League Baseball was taking his time making a decision.

With Shohei Ohtani going to the Dodgers for a record $700 million over 10 years, you can expect free agents to start signing with teams and trades to finally start to happen. Teams like the Giants, Blue Jays, and Cubs can now pivot to the trade block or free-agent class to bolster their roster.

The Phillies have made one signing at the major league level, and that was re-signing Aaron Nola. After a second straight NLCS appearance, this time being on the losing end of it, the Phillies are taking their time making acquisitions.

They understand money doesn’t buy you championships (look at the Mets and Padres). They do however need to spend on some pitching, and although everyone would like a player like Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the Phillies can look at other pitchers to help get them over the hump for the first time since 2008.

Michael Lorenzen can be that pitcher.

Michael Lorenzen in Philly

Acquired from the Tigers at this year’s trade deadline, Michael Lorenzen’s Phillies career was an interesting one, to say the least.

Lorenzen’s Phillies tenure started as good as it possibly could. His first start in a Phillies uniform saw him go eight innings, allowing two runs on six hits in a 4-2 win in Miami.

His home debut was even better, pitching a no-hitter against another division rival in front of 30,000 fans. Unfortunately, it couldn’t have gotten much worse after that. In the final five games Lorenzen started, he allowed 23 runs in 26 innings. He finished his second half with a 5.51 ERA and 20 walks in 47.1 innings.

Michael’s struggles down the stretch are likely because he pitched over 150 innings for the first time in his career. The Phillies have two pitchers in the bullpen that can go multiple innings with Matt Strahm and Cristopher Sánchez, which means the innings he pitches can be stretched out to save his arm for the postseason push.

Michael Lorenzen
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Michael Lorenzen celebrates after pitching a no-hitter during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Should the Phillies Re-Sign Lorenzen?

That opinion depends on who you ask, and recency bias comes into play here. Most people will say that Michael Lorenzen pitched two good games and fell off, forgetting how many innings he pitched this year was the most he had ever done.

He wants to be a starter, and the Phillies have a spot open for 2024, but I would rather he be a long reliever in the Phillies’ bullpen. We’ve all seen what happens when arms are used too much, especially bullpen arms. Adding another guy to the bullpen who can start would go a long way for the Phillies. Assuming Sánchez stays in the bullpen, that’s three pitchers capable of starting or being long-relief options. If they can add a starter, this would be a scary team all around.

Even if Michael Lorenzen is set on being a starter, the Phillies should look into it.

The famous saying is “You can never have enough pitching,” and with the current lineup as good as it is, pitching should be the main focus of this offseason. Thomson mismanaged the bullpen down the stretch and ran out of arms, so adding a pitcher with starting experience there will help him manage it better. Lorenzen was available to pitch but he pitched just 2.2 innings for the Phillies in the postseason. If he were to begin his season with the Phillies and his arm were to be managed properly, he could be very useful for the organization.

Are the Phillies a Likely Landing Spot?

Nothing is impossible.

Michael Lorenzen re-signing with Philadelphia can certainly happen, but I’m not convinced it will. Lorenzen will most likely want more money than the Phillies are willing to offer him. He also would be at the end of the rotation or a bullpen piece for the Phillies, and that isn’t what he wants.

Michael Lorenzen will have a much bigger role on teams like Baltimore or Kansas City, where he can pitch as a starter. He vocalized what it meant for him to finally get to pitch in that role last season, and after the success he had, there should certainly be opportunities for him this off-season.

Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)