PHILADELPHIA – With Spring Training on the horizon, Cody Bellinger’s ivory ball continues to roll around the MLB roulette wheel on his final landing spot for the upcoming season. He remains no closer to a decision as the days carry on, but the continuous drama now throws the Phillies into the mix of teams to potentially ink the star slugger.
A Potential Signing For The Ages
“Several executives think the Philadelphia Phillies could be a sleeper for one of the remaining marquee free agents in starter Jordan Montgomery or center fielder Cody Bellinger,” according to Nightengale. “Their lone big move has been re-signing Aaron Nola, and Bellinger certainly would provide Gold Glove-caliber defense and another bat to balance the lineup.”
The Phillies are comparable to being a silent partner in these off-season free agent and trade discussions, usually doing the most talking but having others speak on their behalf. This isn’t necessarily a bad trait to have, especially since Dombrowski and Fuld know how to use it to their advantage in this situation. One can only imagine how their division rivals are bracing for impact if one of these players is signed.
Where Does Bellinger Fit In With Philly?
Winning the 2023 Comeback Player of the Year award only added to his impressive resume, and his versatility to play both outfield and first base makes him a great fit for practically any team. The frequent ties to Chicago have been the talk of the town for the past couple of months, but other sleeper teams like the Blue Jays and Angels being interested don’t help matters. Add his $200 million asking price into the equation, and you suddenly have the best recipe for drawn-out negotiations.
Even though he would be a great addition to this ever-evolving lineup, the Phils shouldn’t be involved with Bellinger as much as some may think. They made it to the World Series in 2022, and last season, they ended up in the National League Championship Series, where they ultimately fell to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
This current, past track record indicates to me that they are only one large trade away from lifting that Fall Classic trophy for the first time since 2008.
Their glaring hole doesn’t reside in the lineup, however, but more so in their bullpen. The additions of RHPs Gregory Soto and Craig Kimbrel were thought to be a major step forward but have only ended up with the latter walking in free agency and the former struggling in his first season in Philly. Nonetheless, a lineup that includes Kyle Schwarber, Trea Turner, Bryce Harper, Nick Castellanos, and Cody Bellinger would be a scary sight for opposing pitchers.
Where The Phillies Go From Here
Even with the hype and excitement regarding a potential mastermind signing by the front office, this thought may very well continue to stay as just that. Nightingale noted that at his current asking price, the “Phillies plan to remain patient.” This is a fair statement to present as they don’t need to make any major moves right now since their unbroken team doesn’t necessarily need to be fixed with his addition.
The Montgomery signing is another idea that would have positive implications for the club, but with the strength of their rotation right now, he most likely won’t be the end-all cure here. The re-signing of Aaron Nola was Dombrowski’s largest task in the offseason, and his accomplishment of that alone speaks volumes for the trade market. With that now behind them, laying in wait and being patient will be the best course of action to prepare for March and, subsequently, Opening Day in April.