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Phillies Nation: Dave Dombrowski’s Winter Meetings Yielded the Fewest Conversations of His Career

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Dave Dombrowski had a quiet Winter Meetings. (Cheryl Pursell)

As baseball’s Winter Meetings came to a close in Nashville on Wednesday, the Phillies wrapped up the event without much buzz. 

That’s a change from the norm for this Philadelphia franchise, which has been a major player in free agency and the trade market in recent offseasons, and its president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. The veteran executive has gained a reputation for his aggressiveness throughout his career, but, according to one of the game’s most respected writers and reporters, “Trader Dave” had his “most relaxed” Winter Meetings of his career.

“I’ve known Dave forever,” said The Athletic’s Jayson Stark in a radio appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic on Thursday. “… Since he’s been this Dave Dombrowski, he gets to the Winter Meetings, and he’s a man with a plan. … This guy was a totally different guy.”

Dombrowski, the head of Phillies baseball operations since December 2020, is known for making splashy moves. And in a way, he had already made his big splash, re-signing Aaron Nola to a seven-year contract last month. It appears the two-time World Series champion believes in the Phillies core that’s reached the World Series and the National League Championship Series in the last two years, respectively.

So, as big names flew around at the meetings like Juan Soto in trade talks and Eduardo Rodríguez as a free agent, Dombrowski was not really in the discussions.

“He arrived, he had done the Nola deal and he knew the kind of moves he needs to make now were not going to be available,” Stark said. “He just kind of breezed his way through the Winter Meetings. He had some conversations, but even he said that it might be the fewest conversations with other teams that he has ever had at any Winter Meetings.”

According to Stark, the Phillies are committed to this group and believe the younger players on this roster can continue to grow. Perhaps that’s a risky bet considering the big strides already made last year by players such as Brandon Marsh and Bryson Stott. But the team will ride with this main collection of contributors and its star power as the Phillies aim for their first championship since 2008.

Additional depth moves will be on the horizon later in the offseason, and, according to Stark, Philadelphia is serious about extending ace Zack Wheeler, who has one year left on his contract. A Wheeler extension, if it happens, would likely come closer to the start of the 2024 season for luxury tax purposes.

But in totality, next season’s Phillies will likely look quite similar to the team that fell to the Diamondbacks in the NLCS, a testament to Dombrowski’s confidence in the roster he’s helped build. 

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