December 09, 2019
UPDATE [4:10 p.m.] — According Bruce Levine, who works for 670 The Score in Chicago, the Phillies are working on a backup plan in case they get outbid for Anthony Rendon. After it previously being reported that the Phillies had interest in Josh Donaldson as a Plan B to Rendon, it appears Matt Klentak is exploring trade possibilities as well.
Cubs have had talks with Phils on Bryant . Nothing there at the moment. Service time grievance still an issue .— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) December 9, 2019
Here's a little more on that service time grievance and what it could mean to a possible trade:
This is a hurdle to a Bryant trade. Arbitrator has to decide whether he’s a free agent in 1 year or 2, and that decision could still be several weeks away. Of course always possible contingent deals could be struck depending on the ruling. https://t.co/rbEpH3lDe6— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 9, 2019
That is indeed a big deal for any team hoping to acquire him. And, it turns out, the Phillies aren't the only NL East team in on Bryant, who slashed .282/.382/.521 last season with 31 home runs, 77 RBI and 108 runs scored while making $12.9 million.
Braves in addition to Phillies (and others) are another team that could be a fit for a Kris Bryant trade. They seek 3B and prefer not to go too long term.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 9, 2019
It remains to be seen what Bryant, 27, would cost in terms of players, but he'd certainly be an upgrade at the hot corner. That being said, would the Phillies be willing to give up a ton for Bryant when their top prospect, third baseman Alec Bohm, appears to be nearing his call up to the big leagues?
We'll have to wait and see.
UPDATE [2:45 p.m.] — The Phillies had been rumored to have had high interest in Nationals hurler Stephen Strasburg, but according to multiple reports, the second best pitcher available this offseason is off the board.
Strasburg and Nats have a deal— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 9, 2019
What effect this signing will have on Anthony Rendon, a top Phils infield target, is yet to be seen but the Nats backed up a Brinks truck with their new deal:
Stephen Strasburg’s deal with the Washington Nationals is for seven years and $245 million, a source tells ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 9, 2019
The Phillies may be ready and waiting to make a deal with Rendon once the Nationals drop out of the race for the All-Star. If nothing else, Washington may not be able to be as aggressive as other teams as the bidding continues.
The price for Gerrit Cole just skyrocketed, and Anthony Rendon now appears gone from the #Nats.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 9, 2019
Strasburg's deal is the richest in MLB history for a starting pitcher, and also sets the market for the top pitcher on the market, Gerrit Cole, who will likely surpass these numbers when he eventually signs.
Which could be soon...
Source: Gerrit Cole is increasingly likely to sign during this week’s winter meetings. His market is developing quickly, the source said, with the Strasburg signing giving further clarity. @MLBNetwork @MLB— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 9, 2019
It's one thing for the Phillies to decide they intend to be not only competitive, but aggressive enough to be nationally relevant this season — it's an entirely different thing for them to try and do it in the NL East.
In addition to having two NL playoff teams last season (one of whom won the World Series), the Phillies' division is among the most difficult to compete in in all of baseball. That trend seems to be continuing into 2020.
The Braves have already snagged former Phillies great Cole Hamels while the Nationals are deeply invested in trying to return to the World Series and maintain Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg — both of whom are said to be serious Phillies targets.
Philly, of course, inked former Mets' hurler Zack Wheeler to a $118 million deal while adding championship-winning manager Joe Girardi. The Marlins, well, they'll continue to rebuild while New York... lets just say Mets fans aren't very happy right now:
Worse than anything, the Mets are getting beaten up by the division rival Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies this winter. Both of those squads have been busy changing things up for the better.
Meanwhile, the Mets are possibly looking to dump some bad salaries they inked just one offseason ago. Other teams are adding. The Mets are trying to erase mistakes from the recent past. [Rising Apple, Fansided]
While Phillies fans can feel proud their team is pretty much in the mix for every noteworthy free agent and is making NL East rivals feel second class, it looks like they'll have to outbid a massive number just to be in contention for this fall's top prize Gerrit Cole, who looks like he will set records with a deal from a big market team:
I'm told #Yankees have a seven-year, $245 million offer on the table for Gerrit Cole. Would be a record-setting contract for a pitcher, surpassing Greinke’s $34.4 million AAV. Question is whether #Dodgers or #Angels will go to 8-9 or even 10 years.— Bob Klapisch (@BobKlap) December 8, 2019
The Phillies have a lot they need to spend money on, and $34 million a year on a pitcher seems like a huge price to pay after signing Wheeler, but you never know. The luxury tax no longer looks like a hindrance as the Winter Meetings continue into their second day in San Diego.
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