As the Phillies get ready to head to Clearwater for pitchers and catchers next Wednesday, the team still looks very similar to the team that was eliminated by Arizona in the National League Championship series.

The team aggressively resigned pitcher Aaron Nola, but since then has used the winter as a hibernation period.

Last year the team went out and added Trea Turner, Taijuan Walker, Craig Kimbrel and Matt Straham, all of which had prominent roles with the team in 2023.


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Could they be ready to awaken from their winter slumber?

According to USA TODAY Major League Baseball columnist Bob Nightengale, they could be.

Several executives think the Philadelphia Phillies could be a sleeper for one of the remaining marquee free agents in starter Jordan Montgomery or center fielder Cody Bellinger. Their lone big move has been re-signing Aaron Nola, and Bellinger certainly would provide Gold Glove-caliber defense and another bat to balance the lineup. Montgomery would strengthen the top of the rotation.

Yet, unless their price-tags drop, the Phillies plan to remain patient.


As Nightengale points out the Phillies will likely wait until someone gets desperate and drops their asking price, and only then would they jump in and make a play.

Bellinger would be an interesting addition.

He is another left-handed bat, but could play center field, which would likely move Brandon Marsh over to left field, possibility in a platoon situation.

The team also likes Johan Rojas, but stated in the offseason he is no guarantee to make the team out of Spring Training. Adding Bellinger might seal his fate, but could mean thee is a role for Cristian Pache in a left field platoon.

After three down season with the Dodgers, Bellinger had a tremendous 2023 season with the Cubs hitting .307 with 26 HRs, 97 RBI and even added 20 stolen bases.

Adding Montgomery will give the Phillies added depth to their starting rotation, which it lacked last season.

With Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola and Ranger Suarez, Montgomery would give the team four high quality starters for a playoff series with Cristopher Sánchez another possibility to start games if needed.

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