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December 28, 2022

10 remaining free agents that could still interest the Phillies

Are the Phillies done tinkering with their roster?

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Corey-Kluber-Rays-Pitching-MLB.jpg Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports

Could the Phillies add another starter like Corey Kluber to buy a bit more time for their young pitching prospects?

Are the Phillies done tinkering with their roster?

After making four splashy signings — Trea Turner, Taijuan Walker, Matt Strahm and Craig Kimbrel — the team's lineup and pitching staff are taking shape. But there could still be some additions made to help add depth and optionality to a team that was somewhat lacking in that department late in the postseason.

Here's a quick look at 10 such remaining free agents whom the Phils could likely afford to take a shot at:

Corey Kluber, SP

The former two-time Cy Young award winner is nearing 37 years old and is coming off a healthy but disappointing season in Tampa where he went 10-10 with a 4.34 ERA. It's the first full season he's pitched since 2018, but also one of his worst. The veteran might be willing to bet on himself with an affordable one-year pact, and the Phillies could add him to their ranks as an early-season fifth starter, buying time for their youngsters to pitch a bit (and save some innings) in the minors.

Johnny Cueto, SP

Over 15 seasons, Cueto has won 147 major league games with a career 3.44 ERA. If he has more left in the tank entering his age 37 season, he's another kind of hurler for the Phillies to tag as a short-term starter to add some depth. He might be too big a name to invite to spring training but a one-year deal might be on the table.

Michael Wacha, SP

Wacha is younger, just 31, and coming off his best season in four years with the Red Sox (11-2, 3.32 ERA). He's a versatile pitcher who can pitch out of the bullpen if needed, and could perhaps be a hurler the Phillies tag to start early and who becomes a mid/long reliever later on. The longer he remains a free agent, the better chance Philly has of bringing him in cheap.

José Iglesias, INF

The Phillies have a few options as far as their bench goes. It is all but a lock that they'll have Edmundo Sosa there, and chances are Nick Maton is another utility man on the roster as well. They also still have Scott Kingery under contract. However, veteran infielder Iglesias has played every infield spot for five teams over his 11-year career and boasts a slash line of .279/.319/.382. He can get on base and play defense and could be a boost for the Phillies when an infielder needs a day off.

Trey Mancini, UTIL

Phillies fans know Mancini from the World Series with the Astros. He played all three outfield positions, first base and DH there as well as in Baltimore where he flashed a little pop — he averages 27 homers over 162 games during his career. He could be a fit to be a fifth outfielder and occasional DH.

César Hernández, INF

Yes, that César Hernández. But not as a starting second baseman, as he was for parts of seven seasons with the Phillies, but as a utility man off the bench who can handle the bat. Hernandez, 32, has a career .267 batting average and has played all three outfield spots, second, short and third over his career. He also has 91 career stolen bases.

Aroldis Chapman, RP

We'll finish up with a quartet of relief pitchers, starting with lefty flame-thrower Chapman who is coming off a down year with the Yankees that saw him lose his closer role. What better situation for the seven-time All-Star, who is 34 years old, than to come to a contending team and pitch at the back of the bullpen? Chapman has much to prove, and the Phillies have little to lose as they'd love to add depth and a veteran lefty arm to the pen.

Zack Britton, RP

This one has a little smoke to it, as the New York Post's Jon Heyman reported that the Phillies have some interest in Britton:

The Phillies have long liked free agent Zack Britton, and there are Orioles connections in that front office... [NY Post]

Britton has battled injuries of late and will be looking to reestablish himself with a short-term deal. He has a career 3.13 ERA.

Andrew Chafin, RP

A 32-year-old lefty, Chafin was light's out with Detroit this past season, posting a 2.38 ERA over 57.1 innings. He's pitched for four teams since 2020, and the Phillies are a candidate to be his fifth as he'd slot in perfectly as a southpaw specialist alongside José Alvarado.

Michael Fulmer, RP

And finally Fulmer, a righty who had a 3.39 ERA in his second full season as a reliever in 2022. At 29, he has been much better out of the pen than as a starter, after winning rookie of the year in 2016 before falling off performance-wise. He'd be a nice get for the middle of the bullpen.


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