Rob Thomson Phillies manager
NASHVILLE -- Rob Thomson didn't watch a single pitch of the World Series. 

"It hurt me more than the year before when we did make it to the World Series," Thomson said Tuesday during baseball's Winter Meetings at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville. 

"I just thought we were good, we were good enough." 

A slumping offense allowed an upstart Diamondback's club to eliminate Thomson and Co. in the National League Championship Series. It was the second consecutive season the Phillies pushed deep into the postseason while coming up short. 

The Phillies finished the regular season ranked fourth in the NL in batting average (.256) and third in OPS+ (108), but also finished fourth in strikeouts (1481) and third in strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.75). 

"We chased too much," Thomson said. "We got to bring the zone back a little bit, and I think we have some ideas on how we can work on that." 

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has said he's content with the returning core, and Thomson echoed the same sentiment on Tuesday. 

"I think you're going to get a better [Bryson] Stott and a better [Alec] Bohm because those guys are going to improve a little bit," Thomson said. "Then, you're going to get a Trea [Turner] that plays like Trea, and you'll have [Bryce] Harper for the full year. 

"I really like our roster, and I felt like we had a really great chance to win a World Series, and it really hurts me that we didn't ... I just thought we were good enough." 

The Phillies stumbled early last season, particularly in May when the club won only ten games while being outscored by 39 runs. With the division-rival Braves again shaping up to be one of the best clubs in baseball, a slow start could be problematic. Atlanta finished 14 games ahead of Philadelphia in the NL East. 

"Get out of the gate right after Spring Training," Thomson said. "I'm going to have a Zoom meeting over the next week or two with the coaching staff to just try and work through some ideas on how to do that. 

"Last year, with [Rhys] Hoskins getting hurt at the end of spring, [Bryce] Harper going out, three guys at the World Baseball Classic, it was a rough start. That's part of it from last year, but I believe we have to do our due diligence to look at Spring Training and see if there are some areas we can improve upon." 

One of the questions that will remain beyond Nashville is the centerfield position for 2024. The Phillies were not thrilled with the offensive production from Johan Rojas, so the club will likely have him open the season in the minors. The 23-year-old hit .302 over 149 at-bats during the regular season but looked overmatched in the postseason when he finished 4-for-43 with one walk and 15 strikeouts. 

The club and Rojas looked at winter ball as an option to get more at-bats but instead decided on a plan involving cage work, improving pitch recognition, and time in the weight room. 

"I think it's all about pitch selection and not chasing," Thomson said. "Understanding what his strengths are and staying within those. We really want him to bring the strike zone back and use the whole field."

Brandon Marsh will likely slide over to centerfield, leaving the club to look at the current market to add a veteran outfielder. Elsewhere, the Phillies could continue to explore the market for a veteran bullpen piece, but it seems Dombrowski and Thomson are content with the roster as currently constructed. 

"I love our roster and the makeup of our club," Thomson said.

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