Phillies ready to make noise at Winter Meetings

December 6th, 2018

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies never expected to open the Winter Meetings on Monday in Las Vegas with or Manny Machado on their 40-man roster.

It takes time to cut a nine-figure check.

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But earlier this week, the Phillies made their first offseason move. They acquired shortstop and two relief pitchers from the Mariners for first baseman and shortstop . The trade upgraded the shortstop position, moved to first base and gave the Phils more depth in the bullpen, which allows them to trade other relievers on the 40-man roster for help elsewhere, if they want.

The Phillies still want Machado or Harper. Sources have told MLB.com that Machado remains the priority, even with Segura in the fold. But the Phils have more to do than just hand a superstar a $300 million contract. They still want to add a left-hander to the rotation. They still want to find a reliever or two to help the back end of the bullpen. Maybe they add another outfielder, if they sign Machado.

Philadelphia could accomplish some of those things in Vegas.

Here is a look ahead at the coming week:

Club needs 

The Phillies need to address an offense that did not slug enough last season. Harper or Machado would help fill that void. If they sign Machado, somebody like or A.J. Pollock could still fit into the outfield. The Phils need to provide more balance to the rotation. They struck out on left-hander , who agreed to terms this week with the Nationals. But the Phillies have options in free-agent left-handers J.A. Happ, and Yusei Kikuchi. They also could trade for D-backs left-hander Robbie Ray or Giants southpaw . Philadelphia remains interested in free-agent left-handed relievers Zach Britton and . There is no reason the Phillies cannot find a big bat or two, a big rotation arm and a big bullpen arm in the coming weeks or months.

Whom might they trade?

The only two Phillies who will not be traded (unless becomes available) are and Hoskins. Nobody else would be a surprise. That list includes , , , , Tommy Hunter, Pat Neshek, , Zach Eflin and Vince Velasquez. The Phils need to be creative to improve, so nobody can be taken off the table.

Prospects to know 

Take a quick look up and down Philadelphia's Top 30 Prospects list on MLB Pipeline. Pretty much anybody could be had in a deal. Don't believe it? Well, MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported earlier this week that the Phillies and Mariners briefly discussed Phils top prospect Sixto Sanchez, who is the No. 21 overall prospect, in a discussed Segura- trade. If the Phillies entertained the thought of trading Sanchez for Diaz, it means they could entertain the thought again. And if they entertained the thought of Sanchez, it means they could entertain the thought of prospects like Adonis Medina (No. 3) and JoJo Romero (No. 5), too.

Rule 5 Draft 

The Phillies are always looking for ways to improve the roster, so there is a chance they could select somebody in Thursday's Rule 5 Draft. But the Phils are looking for significant upgrades this offseason. The idea of Philadelphia taking up a 40-man roster spot on a Spring Training flier is hard to imagine. The Phillies did not protect three top 30 prospects from the Rule 5 Draft: second baseman Daniel Brito (No. 12), infielder Jose Gomez (No. 16) and right-hander (No. 27), who was the organization's 2017 Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

Payroll summary 

The Phillies have more than $72 million committed to seven players, not including those eligible for salary arbitration. But the most important number here is three. Philadelphia has only three players under contract beyond 2020 (Segura, Herrera and ), which gives the club loads of payroll flexibility to sign Machado or Harper, Happ, Britton or Miller and maybe others.

The Phillies' offseason has been relatively quiet to this point, but it does not mean it will remain that way. They could make more noise than anybody else next week in Vegas.