Owner: John Middleton, net worth $3.4 billion.
World Series Titles: 1980, 2008.
Greatest Player: 3B Mike Schmidt.
Division: NL East
Payroll: 4th, $229,161,189.
2022 Result: 87-75, 3rd place; lost to Astros in World Series, 4-2.
General Manager: Sam Fuld.
Manager: Rob Thomson, 59; Record: 65-46, 0 World Series Titles.
Home Field: Citizens Bank Park, capacity, 42,792.
Key Additions: It doesn’t get much bigger than signing shortstop Trea Turner (11 years, $330 million). He solidifies the infield and is coming off a 100-RBI season. The Phillies once again raided the Mets, signing pitcher Taijuan Walker (12-5, 3.49 ERA) who should more than offset losses to the rotation. Gregory Soto could give the Phillies an option to Greg Kimbrel as closer.
Key Losses: P Noah Syndergaard (10-10, 3.94) was a solid, middle-of-the-rotation starter and he knew the NL East from his time with the Mets. Kyle Gibson (10-8, 5.05) was another rotation loss.
Key Injury: NL MVP Bryce Harper underwent Tommy John surgery in late November. The Phillies are cautiously optimistic he can return for the second half of the season as the DH. That might more accurately be described as overly optimistic. If he returns, the Phillies potent lineup becomes nuclear.
Prospect alert: P Andrew Painter is the 24th best prospect in baseball. The 6-foot-7 righty was the 13th pick in the 2021 draft. Wheeler is 32, and becomes a free agent after 2024, which means Painter could be in Philly sooner rather than later.
Scouting Report: Man, the Phillies were a feel-good story in 2022. After firing manager Joe Girardi on June 3, 2022, when the record was 22–29, Thomson finally got his managerial (interim) shot. And the Phillies never looked back, getting to the World Series. The Phillies removed the interim tag on Oct. 10. Nice story.
But after Thomson pulled ace Zach Wheeler (another former Met) after just 70 pitches in Game 6 of the World Series and the Phillies lost, well, we all know how Zen-like Philly fans are. Then it was announced that Harper, one of the game’s elite superstars, needed surgery.
Philadelphia can still put a quality team on the field every day. Wheeler and Aaron Nola are a great 1-2 at the top of the rotation and they throw to J.T. Realmuto, the highest paid catcher in baseball. Even without Harper, Kyle Schwarber, Rhys Hopkins, Nick Castellanos, and Realmuto offer plenty of pop.
The Phillies play in baseball’s best division. The Atlanta Braves won it all in 2021, the Washington Nationals in 2019 and the Mets have baseball’s highest payroll. The Phillies could have a better record and not get as far.
Over/Under Wins: 88.5, 3rd place in NL East, lose to Dodgers in NLDS.
BetBasics Best Bet: Schwarber is coming off a career-high 46 home runs in his first season in Philly. He’s perfect for Citizens Bank Park, where he had six home runs in 16 games before signing with the Phillies. And he’s perfect for Philly.
“It’s definitely a great place to hit,” he said. “You see the ball pretty well. I always looked forward to the trips to Philly, obviously, one for the ballpark and two for the cheesesteaks.”
The question is, can he post another 40-home run season, especially without Harper in the lineup for at least half the season? Schwarber, who led the NL in homers last season, is +1000 to win the home crown in 2023. Only four players had 40 or more home runs last season.
So as good a fit as Schwarber is for Philadelphia and CBP, the 40 over/under is too rich for our blood. Now, make it 32.5 and we’ll take the over.