Looking ahead at the 2024 season
The calendar has flipped to 2024, and we can see spring on the horizon. Pitchers and catchers will report to Clearwater in roughly six weeks, while the college baseball season opens the Friday following Valentine's Day. As we prepare for another year on the diamond, here's a look at four relevant storylines to follow in 2024. 
 
1. Will the Phillies sign Zack Wheeler to a contract extension before Opening Day? 
Wheeler enters the 2024 season in the final year of a five-year, $118 million contract. He's been one of the best pitchers in baseball since arriving in Philadelphia and is due a massive payday. The Phillies have already had preliminary discussions about a deal and could attempt to get something done before the season, but I think Wheeler will want to test the waters of free agency. He likely will command in the neighborhood of $35 to $40 million. 
 
2. Speaking of contract extensions, are the Phillies considering an extension for Bryce Harper? 
I don't know if this controversy started because Harper felt undervalued or if Scott Boras, Harper's agent, wanted to be greedy based on recent signings that essentially devalued his client's deal. Regardless, I don't envision the Phillies addressing the contract right now, especially given the need to extend Wheeler. I believe John Middleton and Co. will be fair to Harper and consider an extension in the future, but not right now. 
 
3. Can the Phillies return to the World Series? 
The Phillies have the star power to make another run deep into the postseason. There are questions about the back end of the starting rotation and the bullpen, but the overall construction of the roster looks like a team built for October. That said, it's important to note there doesn't seem to be a positive correlation between regular season wins and winning the World Series, especially recently, thanks to the expanded playoff format. I see the Dodgers and Braves as better clubs in the National League, but that isn't to say the Phillies can't beat either club in a postseason series and secure the pennant. 
 
4. How will the college baseball landscape look in Philly in 2024? 
This season will mark the final season for Cabrini as the school will close at the end of the year. It's a shame, as the Cavs have been a regional powerhouse at the Division III level nearly every season since the program debuted in 2017. Head coach Nick Weisheipl has done an outstanding job building the program into a perennial contender in the Atlantic East Conference. 
 
We'll see a new Division II program debut with Holy Family with former U of Sciences head coach Kyle Davis at the helm. The Tigers will play in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference. 
 
Bryan Torresani jumped from the head coaching position at Arcadia to an assistant role with Delaware. He posted a 187-91 overall record with the Knights, including a 101-34 record in the Mid-Atlantic Conference, leading to four MAC championships. Charles Thielmann, who had spent the previous six seasons as an assistant head coach at Stevens, was hired as Torresani's replacement.

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