Story says they probably won't do anything to directly replace Harper, but then again (per Gelb not Dombrowski) they could.
“You just look at all your different options that are out there as time goes on,” Dombrowski said. “I don’t think we are going to rush and sign or make the big trade for an outfielder/DH because, eventually, you’re not going to be able to play that person.”
That means, even after Harper’s Tommy John surgery, the Phillies’ priorities remain more pitching and an upgrade at shortstop. The Phillies are locked into Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos. They have two DH candidates — Rhys Hoskins and Alec Bohm — on the infield. They could keep J.T. Realmuto’s bat in the lineup more if he is the DH once a week.
There is no shortage of DH options while Harper recovers. The trick is squeezing some production from whatever reserve player is in the lineup as a result of someone else DHing. If the Phillies sign a shortstop, it could be as simple as Hoskins being the DH against lefties while Bohm shifts to first base and Edmundo Sosa plays third. Against righties, the Phillies could deploy Darick Hall as the designated hitter.
Maybe they seek an upgrade for the bench spots hypothetically filled by Matt Vierling and Hall, but that player would have to shift into a full-time reserve role whenever Harper returns. The Phillies could decide it’s worth spending their resources — money and prospects — on more pressing needs.
But, if Harper is not available for almost three months’ worth of games, a more capable fourth outfielder could be worth it.
DHing JT twice a week if Stubbs' bat is for real actually seems like a good option (or let Stubbs himself DH once). Then maybe Castellanos twice (letting Vierling play RF) and Hall the rest of the time. You don't really even need to mess with Bohm and Hoskins.