The Philadelphia Phillies will be very interesting in 2018. By the end of the 2017 season, it looked as though the Phils had finally identified the new core that will carry them into another phase of contention.
Outfielders Odubel Herrera and Nick Williams, first baseman Rhys Hoskins, and starting pitcher Aaron Nola look like they can replace Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Cole Hamels as the bedrocks of the team. Young catcher Jorge Alfaro also flashed in the last two months of the season, outfielder Aaron Altherr had a breakout year, and there is still time for young arms in the rotation like Jerad Eickhoff and Vince Velasquez to reach their full potential.
Add in pieces that haven't made a permanent step to the big leagues like J.P. Crawford, Scott Kingery, Roman Quinn, and Dylan Cozens, and there is a bumper of talented young players that can take the Phillies back to the upper reaches of the National League's hierarchy.
Of course, no team wins titles solely on the strength of its farm system. It provides the base, but every team has to augment its homegrown talent with strong players from outside the organization. The Phillies have been quiet on that front for the last several years as they identified the pieces in the farm system that would be the most valuable but with the core seemingly in place and a new young manager to lead them in Gabe Kapler, general manager Matt Klentak may get more aggressive in the market.
While the free agent class that everyone's talking about will come around next offseason, there are still a few players that the Phillies can target to take the next step in their evolution.
What players should the team target this winter? Here are five moves—one trade and four free agent signings—that should be on Klentak's radar.