Phillies rumors: Team expected to pursue starting pitching, Rule 5 draft
By John Town
At the last day of the Winter Meetings, the Phillies are expected to pursue starting pitching and take someone in the Rule 5 draft.
The Phillies have already made two moves at the Winter Meetings this year, signing relievers Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter to two-year contracts. With one day left, don’t expect them to just sit around.
General manager Matt Klentak said Wednesday afternoon that with the bullpen taken care of, the team will shift their focus to starting pitching. However, he isn’t sure whether or not they will be able to pull anything off.
Many of the top free agent starting pitchers are still available. Philadelphia was linked to Jake Arrieta during the meetings, but that notion was quickly shut down. There is also speculation that they could pursue Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn, but there has been little to nothing about them being connected to Philadelphia. Tyler Chatwood was also linked to the team earlier in the offseason, but he signed with the Cubs.
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They could also acquire pitching through trade, mainly by trading one of Cesar Hernandez of Freddy Galvis. Galvis continues to be connected to the Padres, but conversation hasn’t picked up. Meanwhile, the Angels said they wanted Hernandez but are now close to acquiring Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler.
Also Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports that the team is expected to take someone in the Rule 5 draft.
However, they might wind up trading whoever they pick because of roster concerns:
Cam Perkins and Engelb Vielma being outrighted cleared two spots on the roster for Neshek and Hunter, but there isn’t room to acquire anyone else as of now. Some room could be made by releasing Zac Curtis or Jake Thompson, but there hasn’t been any indication that they are going to.
Next: Should the Phillies inquire about Chris Archer?
There are some interesting options in the Rule 5 draft available, but if the team’s plan is to trade whoever they pick, it’s more likely they pick someone that another team wants.