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November 26, 2018

MLB free agency rumors: Phillies won't wait on Harper, Machado in search for top-tier free agents

Philly has been linked to several other players in the meantime...

Phillies Free Agency
112618_Goldschmidt_usat Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.

Between the Eagles' season-saving win over the Giants, Jimmy Butler's buzzer-beater to lead the Sixers over the Nets, and the Flyers' sudden dismissal of general manager Ron Hextall, it's been quite a busy 24 hours for the Philadelphia sports landscape. 

Of course, the fourth franchise in town could make some noise of its own this winter as the Phillies are poised to be big players in the MLB free agent market this offseason. But if they can't land prized free agents Manny Machado or Bryce Harper — or if they have to wait out other suitors in order to sign one or both — there are other options out there for Matt Klentak and Andy MacPhail. 

As we turn our attentions away from the three teams currently playing games, let's take a look at some of the latest rumblings from the hot stove with a Phillies rumor roundup. 

The waiting game

Jon Morosi | MLB.com

As mentioned in the intro, the Phillies may have to wait to find out if they'll be the winners of the Machado and Harper sweepstakes, but according to MLB.com's Jon Morosi, that won't prevent them from making moves in the interim. And they have plenty of options... 

The Phillies aren't waiting on decisions from Harper and Machado as the team ambitiously pursues upgrades to its roster, people in the industry told MLB.com Monday. In fact, the sources said it's possible the Phillies will sign multiple free agents before Harper or Machado agree to terms.

In practice, that approach means the Phillies could sign a starting pitcher, closer and an outfielder who costs less than Harper. Sources say the Phillies have interest in starters Patrick Corbin, Nathan Eovaldi and J.A. Happ; closers Craig Kimbrel and Zach Britton; and outfielders Michael Brantley and A.J. Pollock, among other free agents.

The Phillies carried payrolls in excess of $170 million during multiple seasons earlier this decade. They have less than $70 million committed to players for 2019. That leaves general manager Matt Klentak with ample capacity to add multiple big-name free agents this offseason.  [mlb.com]

More from Morosi...

That's not all from the MLB.com scribe. He also reports that the Phillies are interested in a pair of closers.

Perhaps most intriguingly, the Mariners haven't ruled out the possibility of trading Edwin Diaz. The Phillies and Braves are among the teams interested in Diaz coming off his 57-save season.  [mlb.com]

Carlos Santana on the block?

Jayson Stark | The Athletic

According to Jayson Stark of The Athletic, the Phillies were in talks with Arizona for a deal centered around first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. Obviously, that's would create a problem in the infield. But when the Phillies said they wanted to include Carlos Santana in the trade, who has two years left on his three-year, $60 million deal, the Diamondbacks said no.

Making sense of the Goldschmidt talks

Corey Seidman | NBC Sports Philadelphia

Here's a look at why the Phillies are so interested in Goldschmidt, who hit 33 HR, 83 RBI, slashed .290/.389/.533, and why they're seeming so willing to move on from Santana.

The Phillies have enough money to make Goldschmidt a non-rental, but you have to consider aspects other than offense. It would necessitate Hoskins' staying in left field, which makes left field defense a problem. 

It would also force their hand with Santana, which is likely why they tried to ship him to Arizona. You just cannot have a left side of the field including Santana at 3B and Hoskins in LF. The Phils' defense, with that alignment, could be even worse than it was last season.

Santana has two years and $35.5 million remaining on his contract. It is highly unlikely that the Phillies can accomplish both goals of getting his money off the books while also finding a decent return. It's one or the other.

Quite frankly, though, if Goldschmidt is gettable, the Phillies should do whatever they have to do with Santana. Trade him for next-to-no return if it saves you the money and unclogs the positional jam. Goldschmidt is worth that. He has every bit of Santana's plate selectivity, just with much more power, a much higher batting average, more speed and better glovework.  [nbcphiladelphia.com]

Now that's a blockbuster

Anthony Castrovince | MLB.com

Over at MLB.com, they took a look at a handful of wild trade scenarios that actually make sense. The first one involved the Phillies, and boy, is it a doozy. Let's just say it starts with the Phillies getting a multi-Cy Young winning pitcher (and two position players), and ends with them being called a potential "World Series favorite" — after adding Bryce Harper, of course. 

But it would also cost the team a whole hell of a lot. Would you do it?

1. A Phillies-Indians-Mariners bonanza

Phillies get: Corey Kluber, RHP; Yan Gomes, C; Jean Segura, SS
Indians get: Edwin Diaz, RHP; Roman Quinn, OF; Adonis Medina, RHP
Mariners get: J.P. Crawford, SS; Sixto Sanchez, RHP; Adam Haseley, OF; James Karinchak, RHP

A trade featuring a two-time American League Cy Young Award winner, the reigning AL Reliever of the Year, an All-Star shortstop, an All-Star catcher and four guys who have all appeared on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 prospects list in the last calendar year? Yeah, that's a blockbuster. Here's what each club would accomplish: ...

Phillies: They're taking on salary. That's no problem in Philly right now. They're giving up a wealth of young talent, but they're adding huge pedigree to their rotation in Kluber with three years of control, getting five years of control and stability at short in Segura, and shoring up their catching spot with Gomes, who comes with three years of control. If they were to make these additions and then sign Bryce Harper, that just might be your World Series favorite, folks.  [mlb.com]

In your dreams

Jayson Stark | The Athletic

Finally, from the at-least-we-can-dream category, it's Jayson Stark on a potential pairing of Bryce Harper and Mike Trout in Philadelphia. Yes, you read that correctly.

So let’s say this again. It isn’t crazy. Is it?

“I think it’s possible,” said one big-league executive who has passed through both Philadelphia and L.A. of Anaheim. “That city would [go insane] if that happened.”

“Is that some unimaginable dream – to see two of the best players on the planet in the same outfield? Absolutely not,” said Shane Victorino, former Phillie, former teammate of Trout in LA/Anaheim and former Vegas workout partner of Harper. “I’ve even told my wife, if that happens, I’d want to go coach. I’d come off the couch just to be part of that and help those guys with all the things that guys have to go through in Philly.”

Uh, whoah, whoah, whoah there, Mr. Flyin’ Hawaiian. We’re a long way, and who knows how many millions of dollars, from this actually happening. Heck, we wouldn’t bet Harper’s shoe collection on it ever happening at all.

But is it totally crazy? It isn’t. Could we see this particular owner salivating over the thought of piling enough stupid money in front of Harper and Trout to pull it off? We could. So let’s take a look at this wild idea – and whether it even makes sense.  [thealthetic.com]


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