July 03, 2018
It seems like every day in Philadelphia the rumor mill gives way to a harsh reality.
Days after LeBron James more or less spurned the Sixers to sign in Los Angeles, reports suggest that the Phillies — in desperate need of offensive help as they continue to contend in the NL East — are a "long shot" to acquire slugging shortstop/third baseman Manny Machado from the Orioles.
As MLB.com's Phillies beat writer Todd Zolecki put it, "A third baseman not named Machado and bullpen help are more likely acquisitions."
"The Phillies have less than a month to make moves before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Because they need help on the left side of their infield, because they have a deep farm system, and because they have money to spend, many in baseball believe the Phillies have as good a chance as anybody to acquire Machado before the end of the month. But sources have told MLB.com that teams like the D-backs are more likely to acquire Machado than the Phillies, who could be considered longshots." [mlb.com]
Zolecki goes on to explain that since the Phillies are more than just one added player away from winning a World Series, they are unlikely to be willing to offer the kind of package that a team closer to the top of the mountaintop might offer — especially for a player set to be a free agent in less than a year.
There is another big name, however, rumored to be tied to the Phillies: former World Series MVP Cole Hamels.
Hearing some chatter about a Cole Hamels possible reunion with phillies. It’s early, and unsure how serious the chatter is. But they love him. He loved it there (obvs) and has a home there so presumably he’d approve. Has control with no-trade list covering two-thirds the teams)— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 3, 2018
Hamels can help the Phillies down the stretch with veteran savvy and perhaps a chance of scenery can rescue him from the lowly 4-7. 4.05 ERA campaign he is mired in with the Rangers. He is on pace for his first losing season since he went 10-11 in Philly back in 2009.
Zolecki, however, seems far less optimistic than Heyman does about a Hamels to Philadelphia move, something that has been hinted at since before the season even started.
"Fans have loved the idea of a reunion with Cole Hamels (and to a lesser extent, J.A. Happ). Hamels coming back to help complete the Phillies' rebuild? Sign them up for that. But because of the Phils' needs for a bat, bullpen help and maybe even an extra hitter off the bench, they might move forward with what they have in the rotation, unless somebody slips or suffers an injury. The rotation's 3.84 ERA ranks 11th in baseball. Its .693 opponents' OPS is ninth. Its hard-hit rate (35.4 percent) is seventh, according to Statcast™ Its 3.70 xFIP is sixth, according to FanGraphs." [mlb.com]
Hamels in Philadelphia, potentially by the trade deadline would be a fitting addition to a team celebrating 10 years since its 2008 World Series crown. On August 3, it was announced Tuesday, the Phillies will honor Shane Victorino — who inked a one-year contract to officially retire as a Phillie.