The Phillies need help! Specifically, pitching help. There are some prominent free agents on the market, but who makes the most sense? Fans will be the first to say that they need to sign Gerrit Cole. Cole is the premier free agent of the offseason. Cole is the obvious choice to bolster any rotation, but let’s look at that for a moment.
If the Phillies are, as owner John Middleton states, get objectively better, the move here is to go get Cole. However, to do that, the Phillies will most likely be forced to go over the luxury tax. I am not confident this is the right play. According to MLB Trade Rumors, Cole is estimated to be on the receiving end of an eight-year $256 million contract. At 29 years old, this is a lengthy contract for Cole. Seeing how some Cy Young Award winners, such as the late great Roy Halladay, have dropped off in their later years, is this a wise investment?
Other Starting Pitchers Available
The fact that Cole Hamels isn’t a Phillie yet is silly. He basically said he wants to come home and would sign a one-year deal. Matt Klentak needs to do this. Hamels immediately comes in and helps a struggling rotation, provides veteran leadership and a track record of success. Plus, as of now, the Phillies have no left-handed starters.
Next up I’d take a run at Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu. Ryu was fantastic this year posting a 14-5 record with a 2.32 ERA with 163 strikeouts and only 24 walks in 182 innings pitched. In his five full seasons in the MLB, he has had only one losing season. According to MLB Trade Rumors, he is searching for a three or four-year deal. Klentak could add both of these left-handed pitchers. Think of this rotation:
So far, reports coming out of the Phillies camp is that they are looking for infield help, specifically a third base or shortstop. Judging by what has been reported, the Maikel Franco era has ended. So what is the play for Klentak and company? How will they succeed this next season? Let’s start with the obvious.
Anthony Rendon is the top prize coming off a World Series win in Washington. Rendon hit .319 last season with 34 home runs and 117 RBI’s. The 29-year-old is set to get paid a lot of money. Are the Phillies willing to go that route on another position player? Will Rendon even consider the Phillies as a landing spot? Can his relationship with Bryce Harper and Joe Dillon lure him to Philly? If the time to win is now, then Rendon is the guy to get if the Phillies are going to spend above the luxury tax.
Other Options for the Infield
Klentak needs to be aggressive if he hopes for a postseason run, and quite frankly, to keep his job. There have been multiple rumors that the Phillies have interest in Cubs’ third baseman, Kris Bryant. Well, if the Phillies feel the Alec Bohm is not ready or isn’t projecting to be a big-league third baseman, this would be a great start. But what would Bryant cost the Phillies? And do the Phillies have enough to offer?
The same could be said with Francisco Lindor. Can the Phillies make a trade that gets the prized shortstop to Broad Street? The Phillies may not have the pieces for a trade, and any package to get a talent of Lindor’s quality would most likely include Bohm, Howard and Bryson Stott. According to NJ.Com’s Joe Giglio:
“Trading for Lindor would make the Phillies better. Paying him would be smart for the franchise. He’s worth the prospect cost. But in the world the Phillies currently live in, it’s hard to imagine a deal actually coming down.”
In short, the Phillies farm system is depleted and looking long term, giving up the top three prospects doesn’t make sense.
There have been multiple reports linking the Phillies to go after either free-agents Mike Moustakas or Josh Donaldson to help fix their infield. This is most likely the route that the Phillies will go, should they make a move. If not look for Scott Kingery to continue to fill in as the third baseman.
Regardless, we most likely won’t see any movement until the winter meetings which start December 9th. This will be Klentak’s most important offseason.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports