The Philadelphia Phillies are facing a pivotal offseason as they confront the potential departure of their star pitcher, Aaron Nola.
Nola has been a stalwart in the Phillies' rotation, but with his impending free agency, the team must look to bolster their pitching staff.
In this article, we'll explore three pitchers the Phillies should consider targeting to fill the void left by Nola.
Shohei Ohtani - "The Ultimate Prize"
At the top of the Phillies' wish list is the two-way sensation, Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani's ability to excel both as a pitcher and a hitter makes him a truly unique and coveted talent. In 2023, Ohtani demonstrated his prowess on the mound, going 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. He also contributed significantly at the plate with a .304 batting average, 44 home runs, and 95 RBIs.
However, there's a twist to this pursuit. Ohtani recently underwent elbow surgery, which could keep him off the pitching mound until 2025. While he's expected to return to hitting by Opening Day in 2024, the Phillies may have to weigh the trade-off between his hitting prowess and his pitching availability. If they can afford to wait for Ohtani's return to the mound, he could be the ideal successor to Nola.
Lucas Giolito - "A Reliable Option"
Lucas Giolito presents an intriguing option for the Phillies. He was highly coveted at the trade deadline by the Los Angeles Angels, but his performance with the team left much to be desired. Giolito struggled with a 1-5 record, a 6.89 ERA, and a 1.47 WHIP during his brief tenure, which ultimately led to him being put on waivers.
However, prior to joining the Angels, Giolito had shown his potential with the Chicago White Sox, consistently maintaining an ERA below four and a strong strikeout rate. He has a track record of being a reliable and consistent starting pitcher, making him a valuable addition to the Phillies' rotation. If he can regain his previous form, Giolito could help fill the void left by Nola's departure.
Other Available Options
While Ohtani and Giolito stand out as potential solutions for the Phillies, they must also explore other available options in the free-agent market. Pitchers with proven track records or young talents with the potential for growth could be on their radar.
The Phillies should consider factors such as the pitcher's experience, performance history, and fit within the team's roster. They need someone who can step into the role of the ace and contribute positively to the team's overall success.
The departure of Aaron Nola leaves a significant void in the Philadelphia Phillies' rotation. To remain competitive and build a winning team, they must target pitchers who can step up and fill this void. Shohei Ohtani and Lucas Giolito are two prominent options, each with their own unique strengths and challenges.
However, the Phillies should also explore other available options to ensure they have the best possible pitching staff for the upcoming season. It's a critical offseason for the Phillies, and their decisions in the free-agent market will shape their future success on the baseball diamond.