2024 Phillies Player Spotlight: Rob Thompson

With the 2024 MLB season bearing down on us. We here at EOP will spotlight a Phillies player every week until the start of the 2024 season. We will highlight their 2023 season, strengths, weaknesses, and 2024 projections. This week we will highlight manager Rob Thompson.      

In the last two seasons, the Phillies have fallen short of reaching their goal of winning a championship. Making it to a World Series and then an NLCS in back-to-back seasons is nothing to ignore, but the Phillies understand that there’s another step for them to take.

Dave Dombrowski has put together a roster that has an opportunity to complete that task. Pending injuries and other factors, Philadelphia has as good a chance as any other team in baseball. The season will be determined by what they do in October.

It’s now the second consecutive season that the Phillies have reached this round of the playoffs after missing the postseason every year since 2011. The superstar players get the headlines, but maybe the most important person in that clubhouse is the skipper.

The Tenure

Rob Thomson took over as Philadelphia’s interim manager in 2022. Since that point, he’s taken the Phillies to the World Series and back-to-back NLCS appearances. So, has Thomson emerged as the best manager in the MLB? Based on overall numbers, no one would give him that title. His career record as a manager is 155-118.

But considering he took over in 2022 when Philadelphia was 22-29, he was responsible for the turnaround that vaulted that team to a World Series run. The Phillies defeated the 93-win St. Louis Cardinals on the road during the Wild Card series. They eliminated the 101-win Braves in the NLDS and then dispatched the 89-win Padres in the NLCS.

All of those teams had a better record than Philadelphia that season. In 2023, Thomson is back at it again, sweeping their divisional opponent Miami Marlins, and beating Atlanta, who had won an MLB-best 104 games. There’s something to be said about a manager who elevates his team when the calendar turns to October.

While he doesn’t have the gaudy regular season win numbers like others across the league, Thomson has proven when the games mean more, he and his team will deliver. Yes, the roster of players is extremely talented, but Topper has elevated this team to new heights since taking over. That’s what elite managers do.

2024 Projection

After signing a one-year contract extension in December 2023, there is little doubt that the Phillies organization has faith in their manager. Before the signing, it was a tough two years for Philadelphia in the postseason, despite two NL Championship Series appearances.

The team went 19-11, falling two wins shy of a championship in 2022 and five wins short after collapsing against the Diamondbacks in the 2023 NLCS, which they led 2-0 and 3-2. Then they blew it. It was the Arizona Diamondbacks that planted a flag in the Citizens Bank Park turf and knocked out Bryce Harper and a futile offense that produced no bang for their 241 million bucks.

After their collapse, Rob Thomson came under heat from both media and fans alike. Much of it came from his resistance to changing the batting order despite players struggling, poor bullpen strategy, and the lack of aggressive pinch-hitting.

It wasn’t 100% on him for watching the Phillies get cold at the most inopportune time, but he can’t escape without blame slate is wiped clean, 2024 is a new year yet there can be a question posed to the team: is Topper capable of being the manager to win the World Series?

Rob Thomson can keep this team on track. After taking over when Joe Girardi was fired on June 3, 2022, the Phillies have become a playoff-contending team capable of making long postseason runs. Philadelphia has compiled a 155-118 record under Thomson’s helm. He’s got big plans for the 2024 Phillies, including another long postseason run and loftier goals.

Matt Bednarczyk
Matt Bednarczyk

Matt Bednarczyk is your host of Talking Philly Sports With Matty B. He is a proud retired US Army Sergeant First Class, he is also a combat veteran with over 80 months served in Afganistan, and Iraq . Huge Hockey Fan. Matt is a lifelong 4 for 4 Philly sports fan. Born and raised on the Mayfair and Tacony neighborhood lines of Northeast Philly. He brings over 40 years of Philadelphia Sports passion and provides a realistic look at our Major Sports Teams and the most passionate sports fans on the planet. Look for his show live on Edge of Philly Sports.