Phillies hot stove time is right around the corner. Winter meetings were the best when Cliff Lee was signing and the team was a real contender. Now the Nationals are World Series champs, up is down, left is right, everything is wrong. But there is hope. Yes the Phillies only went .500 last season and gave up a huge lead in the division to those same Nationals. Luckily they are a few pitchers and utility guys away from closing the gap with Washington. The biggest hole is that pitching though. It has to be seriously addressed before the season starts.
The obvious crown jewel out there is Gerrit Cole. He is going to get big time money. Like Yankee money. Whether or not you want to see the Phillies go that route. I’m 50/50 on it personally, he’s still the obvious first option. But here are 3 other guys that I’d love to see the Phillies kick the tires on.
Cole Hamels: Yup, bring the man home to close out his impressive career. He would most likely take a big time hometown discount. Although he had a 3.81 ERA his S/9 and whip were very close to his last All-Star season in 2016. Add that with a 3.0 WAR and you’re looking at a guy that could step in and be a contributor to this rotation right away.
Zack Wheeler: This guy doesn’t get enough respect. Mainly because he is part of a rotation that includes deGrom and Syndergaard but Wheeler pulls his weight. He’s 29 so the issue might be how much and how long. But if Wheeler and his agent aren’t looking to break the bank I’d love this addition. Also doesn’t hurt to bring in a guy that knows the division very well.
Jake Odorizzi: This guy could be a dark horse in free agency. He won’t get nearly enough attention coming from the Twins but he is solid. All Star this year posting a 15-7 record with an ERA of 3.51. I say any ERA under 4 in the American League is basically the same as an ERA under 3 in the National League. He’s 29 so there is a great opportunity to snag a guy that will hopefully be hitting his prime right now.
All three of these guys should be fairly cost effective in comparison to Gerrit Cole. The Phillies are in a tougher spot now that Arrieta has officially picked up his $20 million option. They need to bring in rotation arms but will also have to be money aware. This is going to be one of the most important offseasons in Phillies history.