PHILADELPHIA -- Do not be surprised if the Phillies are linked to some of the biggest rumors in baseball at next week's Winter Meetings.The Phils have a talented farm system and money to spend, so any team looking to trade a player or any agent looking to build a market
PHILADELPHIA -- Do not be surprised if the Phillies are linked to some of the biggest rumors in baseball at next week's Winter Meetings.
The Phils have a talented farm system and money to spend, so any team looking to trade a player or any agent looking to build a market for their client is going to float them as an interested party. Eric Hosmer? Check. Jacob Arrieta? Check. Jay Bruce? Check. Carlos Santana? Check.
But the Phillies have said for some time that they intend to play the position players they already have in the system, giving them another season to prove themselves. They plan to provide similar opportunities to their pitchers, although they are expected to supplement the pitching staff with a few pieces from the outside.
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But that $250 million deal? That blockbuster trade that stuns Major League Baseball? It remains unlikely this offseason.
Next year? It might be a different story.
There is Aaron Nola and a whole bunch of question marks, so the Phillies could use more starting pitching. The Phils are highly unlikely to pursue free agents like Arrieta or Yu Darvish. Free agents like Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn, Andrew Cashner and Tyler Chatwood make more sense, but if they are looking for long-term deals (think five years or more), they can probably forget it.
If the Phillies aren't in the mood to overpay for a starting pitcher, they seem likely to add to the bullpen. Relievers like Addison Reed, Brandon Morrow and Bryan Shaw could give the Phils a stacked bullpen alongside Hector Neris, Luis Garcia, Adam Morgan, Hoby Milner, Edubray Ramos and Victor Arano. In that case, even if a Phillies starter lasts only five innings, they would have the relievers in place to still give them a chance to win.
The Phils could use a positive veteran influence in the clubhouse. If they want one, it seems likely to come as a bench player.
Who they can trade if necessary
SS Freddy Galvis
The Gold Glove Award finalist will be a free agent following the 2018 season, so it would not be a surprise to see the Phillies trade him for pitching, especially with fellow shortstop J.P. Crawford waiting in the wings.
2B Cesar Hernandez
The second baseman also could be traded to acquire pitching. Despite the fact he will not be a free agent until after the 2020 season, he could be expendable because second-base prospect Scott Kingery could be called up only a few weeks into the season.
1B Tommy Joseph
How does Joseph fit into the team's plans next year? Rhys Hoskins will get the bulk of playing time at first base, although he still could see some time in left field. The Phillies tried to trade Joseph before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, but they found little interest.
The Phillies have a talented farm system. Some are ready to make the jump to the big leagues. Some already have. Kingery (No. 3), Crawford (No. 4) and catcher Jorge Alfaro (No. 5) are ranked amongst the top prospects in the organization and top prospects in baseball, according to MLBPipeline.com. Crawford and Alfaro are expected to be on the Opening Day roster. Kingery could be up shortly after that. Outfielders Dylan Cozens (No. 9) and Roman Quinn (No. 10) will enter the season behind Odubel Herrera, Aaron Altherr and Nick Williams on the depth chart. They will have to stay healthy and improve their play to crack the 25-man roster.
Rule 5 Draft
The Phillies have a full 40-man roster, so unless they cut somebody loose within the next week, they will not select anybody in the Rule 5 Draft.
Big contracts they might unload
What big contracts? Herrera is the only player signed beyond next season, and it is a very club-friendly deal.
The Phillies have the money to sign whomever they wish to sign, but they plan to be smart about it because they are keeping their eyes on the premier free-agent class of 2018-19.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.