PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies general manager Matt Klentak reiterated the organization's desire to find a starting pitcher before Spring Training opens next month.
"I think a starter would help," Klentak said Thursday afternoon on MLB Network's High Heat. "We've been pretty up-front about our desire to add a starter, if possible, whether it be a trade or free agency. Because the starting pitching market has been slow to develop, we got somewhat aggressive in December on adding to the bullpen. We figured if we can shorten the game that way, kind of from the back to the front, that's one way to improve our run prevention."
Top-tier free agents like Jacob Arrieta and Yu Darvish remain available, although it is unlikely the Phillies sign either pitcher unless their asking prices drop considerably. Mid-level starters like Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn also are available, but again, it seems unlikely the Phillies sign them to four- or five-year deals.
It is possible the Phillies acquire a starter on a one-year contract, like they have the previous two offseasons with Jeremy Hellickson, Charlie Morton and Clay Buchholz. The Phillies could also trade for a starter, but they might not be willing to empty the farm system when they still have so many uncertainties entering the season.
"We're going to play it out," Klentak said. "We're going to see what's out there and what the best fit is for the Phillies, and hopefully between now and Spring Training, we'll be able to do something."