Welcome back to the latest edition of the Phillies Beat newsletter!
Happy holidays, everybody.
Remember a year ago at this time? Almost nobody would have picked the Phillies to win the NL pennant in 2022. They had holes in left field, center field and the bullpen. There were concerns about Didi Gregorius at shortstop, Alec Bohm’s future at third base and Joe Girardi’s status as manager.
But everything came together on June 3, when Rob Thomson replaced Girardi. Who in the world would have predicted Thomson managing the Phillies, by the way? Nobody, not even Thomson.
So with that in mind, why not make a few 2023 predictions for the Phillies? I’m quite confident nobody will forward me this email in a few months and tell me how wildly wrong I was.
1. Aaron Nola will sign a contract extension this spring
This needs to happen. Nola has been one of baseball’s best pitchers for years. He is fifth in the Majors among pitchers with 21.6 WAR (per FanGraphs) since 2018, behind only Jacob deGrom (25.6), Max Scherzer (25.5), Gerrit Cole (23.2) and Zack Wheeler (22.1). Nobody has thrown more innings (871 2/3) in that span.
Nola’s presence in the rotation is a major reason why the Phillies never pursued deGrom, Justin Verlander or Carlos Rodón this offseason. (They feel they already have two aces, so their money would be better spent elsewhere.) Rodón just got six years, $162 million from the Yankees, but Nola is better and more reliable. He is six months younger, too. Pay the man.