The John DeBella Show

Weekdays 5:30am–9:00am

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Here is a list of five Philadelphia Phillies that we should all be excited to see in 2023. After an unlikely run to the 2022 World Series, Owner John Middleton and GM Dave Dombrowski went into the offseason with the goal of finding the pieces that could help them get over the hump for the 2023 season. The first guy on this list makes a pretty solid case that the front office did a good job.

Let’s take a look at 5 guys, new and returning, that are going to be major reasons the Phillies get back to the World Series.

1. Trae Turner, SS

Phillies SS Trae Turner launches a go ahead grand slam vs Venezuela.

(Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)

Did you happen to watch any of the World Baseball Classic?  If you did, you can stop reading this Turner part. You already know how ridiculous he was.  Six games, nine hits, five home runs, (including a go ahead grand slam in the 8th inning) and 11 RBIs. The guy was just hitting out of his mind. He’s not going to hit you 50 home runs, but he’s the best leadoff hitter this team has had in a long time. He’s one of the best hitters in the game and has a career average of .302. Trae Turner getting on base in the leadoff spot is going to be one of the biggest reasons the Phils return to the Fall Classic in ’23.

He also has the smoothest slide into home ever.

2. Rob Thomson, Manager

Rob Thomson

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Topper, as he’s affectionately called in MLB circles, took an under performing, dead 22-29 team and breathed life back into them. It was obvious the players hated playing for Joe Girardi. Once Thomson took over the change in the locker room was obvious. You could hear the difference when reporters would be doing TV or Radio hits from outside the locker room. It sounded like a party after wins. That’s not to say the Topper doesn’t hold the players accountable when needed. What the Phillies have in Rob Thomson is what you want in a manager, or boss in any business. Lay out the boundaries, then let the talent shine, quirks and all. Good work by Middleton to lock in the manager for a few more years.

3. Nick Castellanos, OF

Nick Castellanos

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Year 1 of the Nick Castellanos experience in Philadelphia was underwhelming. He struggled for much of the season at the plate and he’s never been a great fielder so that’s not going to make up for any batting slumps. It was such a rough start in Philly that frustrations boiled over at one point with a reporter asking a question that Nick didn’t like. Then we got a glimpse of the Castellanos we were hoping for in the NLDS & NLCS when he had 9 hits in 9 games with 6 RBIs. Heading into spring training this year, Castellanos opened up about not being comfortable at all last year, but he said things changed and he’s now comfortable in Philadelphia. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself here, but if being comfortable in year 2 gets us consistent divisional and championship series Castellanos for the much of the ’23 season then this lineup may be unstoppable.

4. Andrew Painter, P

Andrew Painter

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Everyone pray to the baseball gods that Andrew Painter’s elbow issue will not need Tommy John surgery. The small tear in his elbow is one that could lead to surgery. They’re currently shutting him down before having him ease back into throwing. The kid has the stuff to be an absolute star. He’s 19 years old and has nasty stuff. As long as he can stay healthy and handle the pressures that come with pitching in the pros (and Philadelphia) he’s going to be a star. Please baseball gods, don’t do us dirty on this one. I’ll give him my UCL if needed.

5. The Back End of the Bullpen

Phillies Bullpen

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

How does this murderers row of pitchers sound? Jose Alvarado, Seranthony Dominguez and Craig Kimbrel. If this team can get to through the 6th inning with a lead it’s going to be a very good season. Having to hit guys who come in for 1 inning throwing 100+ mph on every fastball that moves is a brutal task, especially when they drop in a slider or sinker that falls off the table. How can the prospect of jokingly booing a guy when he doesn’t hit 100mph not excite you?

This also takes on a whole new meaning of support instead of taunting with Craig Kimbrel now in red pinstripes.

Congrats to the 1982-1983 Sixers!

Last night down at the Wells Fargo Center, the Philadelphia 76ers were back at home after a long road trip, and despite a loss by the team, it was quite a memorable night!

The Sixers saluted the team from the 1982-1983 season, which, of course, won the NBA Finals that year – the last time the team has won the championship.

The team was honored at halftime in front of a sold-out crowd that was in attendance to see the current team take on the Chicago Bulls.

In all honesty, that team will always be my first love when it comes to the Sixers!

Obviously, they won the championship, but there were so many iconic moments along the way that make that team so memorable!

One memory that comes to mind is Moses Malone declaring the 76ers would sweep all 3 series with his infamous quote.

“Fo, Fo, Fo.”

You would be hard-pressed to find a more iconic sound bite in Philly sports history.

Rest in peace to the all-time great.

Although he couldn’t be there last night, a ton of his teammates were there carrying the torch for him and the rest of the team.

Julius ‘Dr. J’ Erving was in the building and even challenged the current team to end the championship drought for the franchise because 40 years is way too long!

I agree, Dr. J!

Hopefully, we can get it done!

Mo Cheeks was also in attendance, but this time as a visitor.

He is an assistant coach for the Bulls.

And he must be doing something right against his former team because the Sixers lost another game this season to a Bulls team they can’t quite figure out.

But that’s enough about the loss because the team won eight straight prior to last night, so you can’t win them all, and there’s no point in focusing on the negative in what was such a great night otherwise.

Not only did the team get honored at halftime, but Billy Cunningham’s daughter rang the ceremonial pregame bell!

Welcome to the club, ladies!

Altogether, it was awesome to be a part of the celebration last night for a team that made me fall in love with Sixers basketball.

Hopefully, in another 40 years, we will be celebrating this year’s team’s 40th championship anniversary!

Only time will tell!

Go Sixers!