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December 01, 2021

Live MLB free agency rumors: Phillies sign a big name reliever

Update [3:30 p.m.] — The Phillies struck a deal to sign reliever Corey Knebel, filling a big need in the back of the team's bullpen. He signed a one-year deal. Read more about Knebel's signing right here.

From earlier...

As you no doubt know, the Phillies have yet to do anything significant yet in free agency.

With vast needs ranging from the outfield to shortstop to the bullpen to the starting rotation, and with at least a little cash to spend on some of the biggest available names, the Phils have remained quiet so far this offseason. And what makes that frustrating to fans is that other teams are pulling the trigger on players who would be perfect fits for Philadelphia left and right. So far, they've missed out on (among others):

• SS Corey Seager: 10 years, $325 million with Rangers

• IF Marcus Semien: 7 years, $175 million with Rangers

• LHP Robbie Ray: 5 years, $115 million with Mariners

• RHP Max Scherzer: 3 years, $130 million with Mets

• RHP Kevin Gausman: 5 years, $110 million with Blue Jays

• OF Starling Marte: 4 years, $78 million with Mets

The good news is, there are still a ton of really good players left in this above average free agent market, including Carlos Correa, Clayton Kershaw, Marcus Stroman and even Freddie Freeman.

The Phillies are simply doing what they always do — waiting for the right moment to make a move. They most famously did this back in 2018, when they waited until spring training was starting to finally strike a deal with Bryce Harper. Just last season, Dave Dombrowski waited until the end of January to sign J.T. Realmuto and the middle of February to bring back Didi Gregorious.

However there is an added reason for their patience this offseason. With conversations between the players and ownership reportedly going nowhere fast, the league is headed for a lockout that will start Thursday. It's part of the reason why so many good players have already signed so quickly. They are wanting to have something in writing before the league shuts down. 

But a handful of teams, Phillies included, have cash to spend and are taking a different approach. There are a ton of unknowns, and some teams want to have all the information they can before they build a team for 2022.

Will the NL adopt a DH? Will rosters expand again in some way? Will the luxury tax be different? Will there be an expanded postseason? And how long will the lockout go for?

Questions like this could completely change the value of a player and Dombrowski is confident the players he wants will be there on the other side of this — when in theory, the negotiating power of a team will be greater.

This doesn't mean the team can't still shock us by striking a deal with a player Philly has been rumored to in recent days — like Nick Castellanos or Kyle Schwarber — but it's pretty unlikely.

Either way, with the potential for more fireworks on the free agent front before the clock strikes midnight, be sure to follow along below with our live stream and open thread:

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