Phillies fielding calls for Giles at GM Meetings
Club may be willing to part with closer to address other needs
PHILADELPHIA -- Everybody knows that Phillies general manager Matt Klentak has a lengthy to-do list.
It starts with improving the pitching staff. It won't be easy, so Klentak has to be open to any means of improvement, which includes trading some of the club's young talent, possibly even closer Ken Giles.
"The biggest thing is we need to add innings to our rotation to help protect our kids," Klentak told reporters on Tuesday at the General Managers Meetings in Boca Raton, Fla. "That's going to be important. We'll be opportunistic in terms of how many and who they are. I don't want to put a number on it. But you know what we ended the season with and who was in our rotation, and who walked away."
Aaron Harang, Jerome Williams, Chad Billingsley and Cliff Lee are free agents. None are expected to return. Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff are heavy favorites for two 2016 rotation jobs. Adam Morgan, David Buchanan and Alec Asher will be competing for spots, too.
Philadelphia could pursue free-agent starters like Doug Fister, J.A. Happ and Bartolo Colon this offseason, and it could try to trade for pitching, too. Giles could help the Phillies acquire more young talent for the rotation, bullpen or elsewhere.
The Phils already have received calls from teams about Giles.
"It's not a goal," Klentak said about trading their closer. "We're trying as much as possible to collect as many good young controllable quality players as we can. But as I said last week and probably the week before that, we're trying to be opportunistic at every turn and trying not to operate in absolutes. I think Ken is terrific. He's great in his role. We want to hold the leads we can hold, but I don't want to categorically say we will or we won't do anything.
"I think we do need to be conscious, regardless of how many games we win next year, of making sure from a morale perspective we are winning the games that we are in a position to win, and I think having a good bullpen in general is critical to that. And I will also say, when you ask, 'Is it a luxury?', I think it's a little different when you're talking about a guy with one year of service time. If you were talking about a pending free agent, then, yeah, that might be a slightly different situation. But Ken Giles, if he's here, can very easily be a part of our future, so I think we have to account for that in our thinking."
The Phillies also need to find some outfield depth. Jeff Francoeur is a free agent. He performed well in a part-time role, but performed even better as a leader in the clubhouse.
"We've been talking to him," Klentak said. "The guys that are our own players, we've had the luxury to talk with them longer, so yeah we're not ruling anybody out.
"We have room on our 40-man [roster] to add. Some of that will come through Rule 5 [Draft] protections, and some will come through waiver claims or free-agent signings or trades. There's a lot of room for growth on our roster in general, and I have no doubt that at least one of those spots will go to an outfielder."