Phillies rumors: Summing up the general manager meetings so far
By John Town
It’s only been two days of the general managers meetings but already the Phillies are being involved in plenty of hot stove talk.
The offseason is here and the hot stove is cooking in Major League Baseball. With the general manager’s meetings taking place this week, plenty of rumors are swirling around. As it turns out, many of them involve the Phillies.
According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, a lot of people at the meetings think that the Phils will be the “surprise team” of the offseason and make a big splash:
"Who will be the surprise teams this offseason?An informal poll of executives and agents produced a variety of guesses, with the Phillies coming up more often than any other team.“They say they aren’t doing anything, but I have a feeling they will go after someone big,” one executive said.There is a feeling within the industry that Philadelphia GM Matt Klentak is biding his time with an eye toward next offseason’s mega free-agent class. But making a signing such as Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn would give the Phils a solid rotation piece on which to build a year from now, either with a top-of-the-rotation ace (Dallas Keuchel ? Clayton Kershaw?) or a middle-of-the-lineup slugger (Bryce Harper ? Manny Machado?)."
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One way Philadelphia could make a big splash this offseason is potentially trading for Marlins slugging outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. He has single-handedly been the biggest story circling around the GM meetings this year, as he has whenever the hot stove reaches it peak. Several insiders have included the Phils as one of the teams in the midst of trade talks with the Marlins for Stanton.
However, Matt Gelb of Philly.com threw some cold water on the idea of Stanton coming to Philadelphia. Two of his sources said that Philadelphia in fact had not discussed a Stanton trade with the Marlins. He also pointed out in his article that GM Matt Klentak said that he is happy with the position players the team has and wants to see what they can do next season.
Considering that Klentak said he is happy with the position players, it’s a bit surprising that Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported that Philadelphia is among several teams exploring the first-base market. They have Rhys Hoskins slated to be the Opening Day starter there, so it’s not like they’re in desperate need of an upgrade.
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The only reason I could see them wanting to add a first baseman is if it’s a left-handed-hitting bench option as a backup. Having Tommy Joseph as a backup next season isn’t a great option at all, so Klentak may use free agency to help improve that aspect of the team.
Instead, the club is more likely to make moves to improve the pitching staff. The starting rotation was a huge problem in 2017 that needs to be addressed moving forward. Feinsand pointed towards them potentially signing Lynn or Cobb, but another avenue the team may take to improve the rotation is through trade.
The biggest trade chip the team has this offseason is Cesar Hernandez. He’s a four-win player, still in his arbitration years, and moving him would help clear up the budding logjam in the middle infield. Indications are that the Angels are interested in trading for Hernandez. Whether or not they have enough prospect and/or major-league caliber pitching talent to complete the deal is another matter, but it is certainly an option.
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Even if something doesn’t happen now, there are still the winter meetings next month where all hell breaks loose for four days in the league. What happens at these GM meetings often directly contribute to what happens at the winter meetings, so don’t be surprised if something that comes up now comes up again next month.