PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies probably punched their biggest-ticket item of the offseason on Wednesday, when they agreed to a five-year, $118 million contract with Zack Wheeler.
The Phillies are fast approaching the league’s $208 million luxury tax threshold for 2020 and they are unlikely to pass it, which essentially takes them out of the running for free-agent heavyweights Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasburg and Josh Donaldson. It means once the Phillies find an everyday infielder to join Rhys Hoskins, Jean Segura and Scott Kingery -- free-agent shortstop Didi Gregorius could be the guy -- the Phillies will be making more minor moves throughout the rest of the offseason.
Fifty-six players were non-tendered contracts on Monday, making them free agents. César Hernández and Maikel Franco were among them. Here are a few players that might make sense for the Phillies -- if the price is right:
RHP Blake Treinen
Treinen, 31, finished sixth in the American League Cy Young Award voting in 2018 and 15th for AL MVP, going 9-2 with a 0.78 ERA in 68 appearances with the A’s. He was incredible. But he struggled in 2019, posting a 4.91 ERA, walking a career-high 37 batters in 58 2/3 innings and losing the closer job. Relievers are volatile. If the Phillies can get him into camp on a relatively low-risk deal, it might be worth a shot.
RHP Jimmy Nelson
Nelson was 12-6 with a 3.49 ERA in 29 starts with Milwaukee in 2017 before he had shoulder surgery. He missed the entire ’18 season, then posted a 6.95 ERA in 10 appearances last season. He generated 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings, but he could not find the strike zone, averaging 7.0 walks per nine innings. Maybe with a few more months and some tweaks, Nelson can be a little more productive on the mound and give the Phillies some depth for the rotation.
INF Travis Shaw
Shaw, 29, hit 31 homers in 2017 and 32 homers in 2018. He posted a 121 OPS+ and a 119 OPS+ in those seasons, respectively. But he batted .157 with a .551 OPS while battling a right wrist injury in ’19. Shaw is probably looking for regular playing time somewhere, but if he cannot find it, maybe the left-handed hitter could work as a bench bat for the Phillies. He is versatile, too, with the ability to play third, second and first.
RHP Junior Guerra
The Brewers needed to shed payroll, so they cut ties with Guerra, who turns 35 next month. He had a 3.55 ERA in 72 appearances last season, setting up closer Josh Hader. He held righties to a .641 OPS and lefties to a .629 OPS. His fastball averaged better than 94 mph, according to Statcast. The Phillies seem to be looking for quantity in the bullpen, hoping they hit on a few relievers. Guerra could be worth bringing into camp and seeing if he sticks.